Path rolls out API, partners with Nike to appeal to runners

Many of the app's users are runners, so teaming up with Nike makes sense. Path is also adding Shazam-like music features and promising to encrypt personal data in next release.

Paul Sloan
Paul Sloan Former Editor
Paul Sloan is editor in chief of CNET News. Before joining CNET, he had been a San Francisco-based correspondent for Fortune magazine, an editor at large for Business 2.0 magazine, and a senior producer for CNN. When his fingers aren't on a keyboard, they're usually on a guitar. Email him here.
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Path partners with Nike Path

SAN FRANCISCO--Path is launching a partnership with Nike so that users can share their runs with all their friends on the social-networking app. It's also adding Schazam-like music features and enhancing its camera as part of version 2.1 of its iPhone app, which rolls out today.

"When you step out for a run, Path will...update and say you're running through San Francisco and perhaps even tell you it's a certain kind of weather," said CEO and founder Dave Morin, who hosted a group of reporters at its headquarters here in downtown San Francisco.

Since Path launchedPath 2.0 in November, it's added about 2 million uses, Morin said. More importantly, he said, about 70 percent of those people check in on a weekly basis and then come back the next week.

Path wants its users coming back over and over, of course, and the Nike partnership is intended to make that happen. Many path users are runners, Morin said, and so teaming up with Nike made sense. To do this, Path launched the Path API, although for now it's a private.

"The API is about quality," said Morin, explaining why it's launching privately and with a single partner. "We want to make sure each consumer experience is beautiful and high quality."

Your Path friends can cheer for you. Path

A user can connect Nike+ GPS with Path and, poof, the details of your run get blasted out real-time to your network. You finish your run and Path creates what Morin calls a "beautiful running story in your Path." It creates a map with dotted images of those who cheered for you along the way. You can see your best pace, your time, and distance.

Morin said Nike was the best partner because it's thinking of ways to integrate sports and activity into everyday life. In addition, in the next few weeks, you'll also be able to connect the Nike+ FuelBand with your Path feed, which the folks at Path refer to as your "journal."

In addition, Path rolled out new camera features, including better options for lenses, as well as an easier ability to share music. To do this, Path teamed up with Gracenote.

This part is sleek. The new Path can recognize a song and share it on your journal. It works like Shazam. The app "hears" the song, displays the information, and lets you share it to your journal.

Path, of course, is still stinging from a controversy in which it was discovered that the app was absorbing people's entire address books from their iPhones without telling them.

Morin said a "small number of users" deactivated their accounts but that the impact was small.

"We did what we thought was the best thing to do--be transparent and apologize and make a change," said Morin. "We went further and deleted all the data."

He said Path is working with Truste, a third-party certification company, and that in the next update to Path it will encrypt more data.