February 14th, 2011
Yesterday the latest version of ReadPath launched. This update changes dramatically the focus and feature set of the site. While it’s still very much a beta there are a lot of new things to play with.
ReadPath is realigning around a secure and easy to use permission structure along with the features that make sense to attach to this. The core of the site allows you to connect with your friends and determine sets of permissions that will be given to each group of friends. You can create as many groups as you like with the default starting set of Family, Friends, and Coworkers. Friends can be in multiple groups, Grandma can be in your Extended Family group as well as the Motocross Riders group.
Once you have your friends and groups there are lots of things that you can do with them. With each of these things, you control whether you’re including a single group, multiple groups, or individuals.
- You can share status updates from the Friends page.
- You can share news items that you’ve found interesting from the ReadPath news system.
- You can upload and share photos (videos and documents/files are coming soon).
- Create a real profile with real phone numbers, email, and addresses and control who gets to see what.
- Share bookmarked items from around the web.
Shared items on ReadPath have a couple of other aspects that make them unique in social networks. With the focus on permissions and privacy, items on ReadPath are by default shared with no one. It is up to the person sharing to pick a group of people that the item will be shared with. The recipients of a shared item are set and final when the owner publishes the shared item. This list of people is also available to all of the recipients. So if your Aunt Matilda shares some political gossip with family members, you know that coworkers or others won’t be included on the comments later. You can also be much more confident about what you want to say because you get an exact unchangeable list of who is included on each shared item.
ReadPath is not included in search engines and we don’t get traffic from them. Only this blog, which has no user content and lives on a separate domain, is included in search engines. With ReadPath, you don’t need to worry about your party photos being accidentally picked up by Google and stored for future employers to see. In fact there are strict permissions on all aspects of photo display. Even if someone were to get the url of one of your photos they would not be able to view it unless they were logged in to ReadPath and had the proper permissions. And these permissions can be revoked at any time.
Much more importantly, in comparison to other social network sites, we take no advertising. We don’t make money by selling our user’s data. This removes the pressure that other sites have to keep pushing the users to be more and more public. There is a need to be able to have private communications on the internet and ReadPath’s goal is to be the best place for people that don’t necessarily want to live in public. Default private is a core principal and that won’t change.
Instead of advertising, our business model is to charge for the aspects of the site that are expensive. Similar to the Flickr model, there will be a free tier as well as a premium tier with enhanced uploading capabilities.
Another core principal is that the data on ReadPath belongs to the user. There will be a full API to do anything that you can do on the site available to developers. You will need to authenticate, but once you do you’ll have full access to fetch, change, or delete your data. The only caveat being that the same levels that dictate premium usage through the site will apply to the API as well.
I hope you enjoy the new ReadPath, there are still many more changes coming.