On the afternoon of January 8th, I observed a sudden and mysterious overuse of the emoji in my Twitter feed. By the folks using it, I immediately knew a fresh app was on the loose and pivoted to Google where the trusty “peach app” query would turn up fruit (ba-dum-tss).
Sure enough, these two posts had just gone live:
- Peach Is A Slick New Messaging App From The Founder Of Vine (TechCrunch)
- Peach: WTF is this app everyone’s talking about? (Mashable)
From the titles alone, I didn’t even need to read the articles to know I wanted in. I immediately downloaded and onboarded. As soon as I walked through that process, I ended up in the app where I had zero friends. Only one friend turned up in my address book and I had to wait for approval to see his content. That person was Yuri Victor.
Despite the lack of network, I immediately felt this app may be the next big thing.
Why? I’ll get to that.
There have been some big hypes over the years. Google Wave, Google Plus, and Ello. Each were sold by the media as something that would change the world, but each I immediately dispelled with my network, letting them know all had fatal business flaws. Wave was too much. Plus erroneously tried to brand itself as a “Facebook killer” rather than seeing the real opportunity to be Slack at a time when corporate intranets sucked. Ello simply had no value add of any kind—100% hype.
Peach, on the other hand:
- Is mobile first; precisely where it needs to be.
- Is simple in function, where Facebook started—and is cute to boot.
- Begins to address the firehose feed problem Facebook has arrived at. You know, that one that makes everyone angry all the time because it’s all politics, bad news, or lives you wish you had.
- Isn’t laden in advertisements as Instagram is shifting toward. (Even if we know someday it will be.)
- Is inherently personal, for friends without public feeds.
- Hasn’t been advertising, yet within my first 24 hours I mustered 39 friends with shiny new accounts, all experimenting, posting, and replying.
The playfulness of the app and the natural draw to use it is something I’ve only seen in Slack—the poster child of 2015. In fact, I’d been yearning for a Slack equivalent for my friend network. A means of organic but unobtrusive chat, with a vibe that makes everyone happy instead of bitter. Ambient notifications. Conversation channeling. Peach isn’t nearly as mature as Slack, but it’s the closest I’ve seen and it’s only in soft launch, ironing out a couple bugs. I have faith Peach will arrive there and have a feeling deep down that Peach will become the Slack of 2016.
What Peach does right now:
- It keeps posting simple, but multimodal. There are shortcuts for sharing where you are, what you’re watching, what the weather is like, and the usual photos, videos, or messages. My favorite though, is the drawing feature. Simple black and white, pen on paper.
- Each friend feed is read individually, but there’s a handy “next” at the bottom of each as you catch up.
- You don’t write on friends’ walls but you post on your wall and tag them, or you reply to their posts. This keeps their walls from being covered in shared junk (something Facebook is abused by).
- That’s it. There are no private messages and there’s no integrated feed of everything. You prioritize who you want to catch up on in any order. The closest thing to an aggregated feed is the notification center in your own profile.
What Peach needs to roll out next, to keep momentum:
- An Android app. I’m a self-admitted Apple fanboy, but the Droids want to play too.
- Add an in-app photo editor. It doesn’t need to be as much as Instagram has, but minimally cropping and fixing contrast before posting would be nice.
- Allow private messaging. We’ve already approved all friend relationships, so don’t make me switch to SMS, Twitter DM, Hangouts, or Slack to follow up on brunch plans.
- Show the list of who liked what. Right now the count is there, but you can’t see who was reacting.
- And the Grand Poobah: Introduce channels. Public channels or private channels, I want to have somewhere a group of friends can each post to on a theme. This is where Slack shines—in the microcommunities. I like the absence of a single feed of everything, but there needs to be some clustering.
What Peach should consider in the future:
- Add hashtags. These aren’t needed now, but the sooner they’re implemented, the more valuable they’ll be in the future. Hashtags are a great means of seeing threaded topics over vast periods of time. For example, seeing all birthday posts over the course of ten years. An advanced search a la Twitter can do this, but it lacks the fun discovery hashtags inherently add.
- Eventually, merge the drawing and photo tools and give them more options. Essentially, reprise Skitch. Don’t do this too soon though. There’s something romantic about the primitive nature of the tools today.
- Talk to the folks at FireChat app and introduce a bluetooth mesh network to allow in-flight Peach parties, even when there’s no network. This works brilliantly in bogged networks like sporting events, concerts, and SXSW where you *yearn* to interact with everyone but can’t get anything to post.
- Introduce a MacOS app. Like Slack, a seamless ecosystem is magical. Be everywhere I am without me thinking about it.
I’m already excited by where this is going and I hope to run into these folks in Austin this year. Happy Peaching! Find me on Peach at @adp and follow them on Twitter (@peachdotcool) to give feedback.