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Have you heard of Peach? no? and before you ask no it is not the fruit beloved by giant insects and boys named James but instead an exciting new social network app for mobile. Now immediately it may be tempting to quickly dismiss it as another wannabe Facebook or Twitter like so many others before it. However what sets Peach apart from its contemporary’s is that instead of looking to replace these already well established social networks it looks to complement them. It’s a fresh take on social network design and will hopefully save itself from a similar fate to other recent social network hopefuls.
Created by Dom Hoffman, co-founder of the popular Vine video app, it was released on January 8th this year and has already gone through the cycle of initial excitement that follows the release of a new social network app. Earlier in January following its launch it sky-rocketed its way to the top of social networking apps in the Apple App Store before disappearing back down again the following week. Critics and tech pundits were quick to claim that it was dead and had gone the way of so many social network apps before it, but now there seems to be a comeback as new users discover it and the critics and pundits have a change of heart and realise and applaud the merits in its familiar design and innovative new features.
It’s not this
Put simply Peach is a blend of a mobile messaging app and a personal content feed, with users being able to post and share their story of their day and then other people can request to follow your activity. These followers are organised individually, similar to a messenger, meaning that when you engage with them you’re scrolling exclusively through content they’ve produced. This is aided by a new unique feature called “Magic Words” that looks for natural language cues to aid users content creation. A set of lightweight visual interactions and features also makes posting and engaging with others easy and fun. These are some great new features from a social network, so what do they do that really sets Peach apart from the rest?
The greatest differentiator from other networks is Peach’s “Magic Words”. These are commands that allow you to search for and embed GIFs, draw images, roll dice, say goodnight with the time and local temperature and lots more. Users do this by typing in things like “gif” and the input field will auto populate with these items, there are currently several Magic Words supported and there are many more planned for the future. They are a really cool tool to aid in sharing content and help users quickly post content, whether they prove to be more than just an innovative novelty would be great to see in the future.
There isn’t alakazam though…
Peach differs from in how it elicits content from its users, instead of asking “What’s on your mind?” like Facebook or “What’s happening?” like Twitter, it uses the light bulb feature. It’s another great concept and feature that looks to engage users into creating content. The Idea is simple, users who want to post something but have no idea what simply tap the light bulb and receive some helpful suggestions from Peach. Questions such as “What’s something you can’t live without?” or “When are you most comfortable?” and is an interesting way to engage with users and get them more active on the network.
One of the first things you notice when logging into Peach is its visual feed, although not necessarily unique to Peach, what is striking is it presents a very different highly visual feed of your activities. This differs from similar networks. Instagram for instance doesn’t really offer this, due to the emphasis on photos, which means users prioritise highly produced and edited shots. Similarly Snapchat also doesn’t offer this due to its short-lived nature although it’s Snapchat Stories and chat system are probably the closest relatives to Peach, they are also noticeably one of Snapchat’s most popular features. It is possible this means it could look to replace these networks and other networks that use a social feed, such as Facebook, for users tempted by its live visual feed. This could be highly interesting for bloggers and others that look to keep their audiences constantly up to date with their movements and events in their life.
All in all Peach is an app that puts social networking and interaction at the centre of its experience. It’s simple to use, with its clean visual design free of ads and feature buttons making it inviting for new users and allows you to easily communicate with friends and followers. All these features are staggering for a new app considering how many social networking apps start small and then add features later, but Peach feels fully formed. Currently all it seems to be missing is users and the content they produce to populate its network, which is noticeably sparse at the moment.
Whatever happens with Peach it does present some interesting new features and serves as a confirmation to marketers that audiences still have an appetite for new mobile experiences; especially for mobile messaging and social networking. But at this stage it may be better for businesses to invest time looking at more direct mobile messaging apps and reinvigorating current social media channels until Peach picks up a bit. If it can gain the following and the users it needs to make it a viable network to invest brand resources on, then it may be time to invest your resources on it. However in the meantime keep an eye on its updates, have an experiment with it and maybe grab yourself a username just in case.