Path Might Get A Bit Noisier, It Now Lets You Import Things From Facebook, Foursquare And Instagram

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Remember when Path was super quiet with your nice group of fifty people? That’s all going to change now. As I broke at The Next Web (my former employer), Path has been tinkering with the notion of importing items from other social networks. The feature has now been released in the latest update to the app for all users.

You can now import Facebook status updates, Instagram photos and Foursquare check-ins right to your Path stream. We’re told that this was in a version a few weeks ago, but wasn’t publicized and discussed. Is this something that you really want? We’ll get to that, because it’s huge.

Here’s everything that’s new on Path:

What’s New in Version 2.5.6
★ Sharing — Write about, tag, and share moments easier.
★ Camera — Quicker access to your photo library.
★ Settings — Manage your profile and connections better.
★ Import Facebook, Instagram, or Foursquare any time from settings.
☂ Bug fixes.

Take a look at the new settings page within the app, which lets you connect to these three networks:

The idea of Path is that it’s a private social network, shielded from the cold nasty world of the “real” Internet. You don’t see links on the network or self promotion of any kind. Will this change now that people are importing feeds from other places? I hope not.

As you know, I’m not a fan of cross-posting. Since Path explains this feature as “import any time”, I hope that this isn’t something that’s going to get used often. I spoke to Dave Morin, Path’s CEO, tonight and he reminded me that this is a manual import process. Everything fits into your Path timeline nicely. Imported Facebook status updates? I’m not so sure, honestly. Photos? Sure. Anything else? That’s pushing it. I personally post TechCrunch links in status updates on Facebook, do I want to pump that into Path? No way. Sadly, I see no way to choose Photos OR status updates. It’s all or nothing with Facebook importing.

This is a completely optional feature, of course, and it will be interesting to see the feedback that comes in from hardcore Path users. Remember, since your network can only reach 150 people, the feedback on what you’re posting will be much louder and way more personal. Basically, if you take 100 Instagram photos a day, and import them over and over again, you’re going to piss people off.

The purity of Path, meaning, only being able to update your stream with its built in functionality and maybe a Nike+ update here and there, has been a draw for me, even though I don’t use the service heavily. For the most part, I know that going to Path is going to be a somewhat “quieter” experience than using something like Facebook. This changes everything.

I feel like this feature is great for new users, because it’s rough to start out on a new network with zero content. In that sense, this is amazing onboarding from Path. I just fear that the existing users will backlash slightly. We’ll find out.

Good move by Path? Let the conversation begin. What do you think? I agree with Martin:

[Photo credit: Flickr]