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Thoughts on the Latest Version of Highlight – Greater Emphasis on Sharing Out to Facebook

I’ve been enjoying the latest update to Highlight (version 1.2 which issue described on their blog here). For my previous thoughts on Highlight,  I’d encourage you to read this post.

As a fairly active Highlight user, a few things have really jumped out at me about the newest release. Overall,  it feels like this update was designed to encourage me to share more content out to my larger Facebook social graph and to generate more interesting social signal data by expanding the range of activities I can do inside of the app. More on those two topics below:

1. This new release has a much stronger focus on sharing out to my Facebook graphics as opposed to keeping content internal to Highlight. Whether it’s posting a new blurb, creating a location-based nearby post, or highlighting users, there is much more emphasis on sharing activity in Highlight out to my larger Facebook graph.

I haven’t yet fully embraced sharing out from Highlight to my larger social network. In some ways I think it’s strange that I haven’t given that the seed for the service is my Facebook graph and friends-of-friends. I’m just happier keeping what I do in Highlight on Highlight for now, much in the way that I only selectively share activity from Path or foursquare to other social networks.

2. Highlight 1.2 creates many more ways to generate signal and activity in the system. One of the challenges with being an always on background app is that users don’t necessarily open up the app on a regular basis. One way to remain top of mind and relevant as a background app is to fire off timely push notifications. Under the old version of Highlight, the primary notification event was a potential person of interest in your vicinity or another user highlighting you. I doubt that dialing up the volume of those notifications, even if Highlight could achieve a 0% false positive rate, would make the app more interesting. Rather, I’m guessing that the team determined that adding new and varied signals to the system would make for a richer, more interesting experience. I am still wrapping my head around how to use the “Post Nearby” feature, but I do think it will become another interesting way to interact with other Highlight users.

I continue to be really interested by Highlight and the boundaries they are pushing in terms of passive location sharing. Finding the right balance of relevance and reminding users that you’re around and active for an application that runs in the background is an interesting UI/UX/design challenge.

As always, comments are open and you can also message me on Twitter @chudson.

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