Is the Hot New App 'Peach' Doomed to Fail?
You may have heard about Peach by now... (yes, clicking that takes you to peach.cool... what a time to be alive). But if not, it's a new messaging app from the guy who started Vine. It’s only two weeks old, but thanks to the Internet hype machine, it ended up on the App Store’s most-downloaded list mere hours after its debut. Sure, that’s impressive, but the real question is this: is it worth the download? Taking up even a little bit of your iPhone’s precious storage space? Are people actually using this thing? Or is it just a flash in the pan we’ll forget about by next month?
Essentially, Peach is yet another way to communicate with your friends. It’s like a hybrid of Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Slack, Foursquare, and Facebook. You broadcast photos, GIFs, videos, your location, feelings, and emojis to people who “follow” you, but in a vaguely different way (something about "Magic Words," which have been likened to Slack commands).
I played around with it for an afternoon, and apart from the fact that it seems to have resurrected the Facebook poke (which it's calling a "boop"), I couldn’t quite figure out what the buzz was all about.
And there is plenty of buzz to be heard: following its release, it blew up on Twitter. Hardcore tech blogs from here to Timbuktu were publishing hot takes about Peach. TechCrunch called it “slick,” comparing it to Slack and Twitter. Tech Times called it “pretty interesting and unique.” Digital Trends proclaimed that it “seems to have mastered the combination of overstated simplicity and understated absurdity.” Macworld says it's “surprisingly addictive.” Hell, even the New York Timesweighed in.
But we’ve heard this all before, haven’t we?
It's truly remarkable how Internet hype will skyrocket certain apps and social networks into absurd popularity, only to see them swiftly crash, burn, and call it a day in the far reaches of the iTunes store.
Case in point: remember Ello, which the so-called anti-Facebook people scrambled to score invites to back in September 2014? Or the contact-sharing network Path co-founded by Shawn Fanning? Or Meerkat, the live-streaming app that was swiftly upstaged by Periscope? Or how about Yo, that gloriously stupid app whose sole function was to literally send your friends the word “yo”? They were all ushered in under a firestorm of hype, only to bite the dust in a matter of weeks under their original iterations, forced to pivot and reinvent themselves to survive.
The Internet seems to be suffering from short-term memory loss and pulls this sort of stunt all too frequently. In fact, we're already losing interest in Peach, which looks like it's destined to join rank in the social media graveyard. Four days after its launch, it was the ninth most-popular social networking app, and less than 10 days later, it’s dropped to 35th. Sure, it's too early to know whether it'll stick around in any meaningful way at this point; if not, perhaps our fantastically short attention spans are to blame. The New Republic and BGR have already declared it dead and over and "so two weeks ago." (OK that last part was us.)
Peace out Peach, we hardly knew ye.
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He misses Friendster.