Why would Google want a 50-person social network ? Because that's what Path is, a mobile social network that consists of only a few dozen people and is touted as "a place to be yourself." Despite the relatively small reach, Google was prepared to pay $100 million for it.
Apparently Google liked the look of Path, its message or was attracted to its founders, all with serious street cred. There's Dave Morin, formerly of Facebook; Shawn Fanning, creator of Napster; and Dustin Mierau, creater of Macster, according to TechCrunch. The founders rejected the deal in December, preferring to instead focus on garnering more funding.
I tried to see what was so darn attractive about it and took a look on the Path website, which seems to continually use the phrases "shared experience" and "closer relationships." From its blog:
U.S. & World
At Path, we’re focused on helping close friends and family deepen their relationships with each other. At the root of happiness in relationships is shared experience.
It was our hope in the beginning that our experiments around more private sharing and more personal network models would enable shared experiences between people that care about each other, and thus form closer relationships. We’ve focused our features around innovative ways to guarantee shared experience such as “Seen” and “Emotion.”
I'm not sure I see the attraction exactly -- probably because you need an iPhone to use it -- but its buzz seems to be catching. It received $8.65 million in funding this week ($11.2 since it started last year) and is valued at $25 million.
But refusing a $100 million offer -- was that really Google's loss or Path's? Time will tell.