Hands-on with Peach, a new iOS-only social network that feels a lot like Slack

peach for ken

There’s a new app that everyone’s talking about today and it’s from the founder of Vine, Dom Hofmann.

It’s a social network called Peach and it feels like a weird blend of Tumblr, Slack, and even Telegram. The service, currently trending on Twitter, is only available on iOS devices and bills itself as a “fun, simple way to keep up with friends and be yourself.”

So what makes this app so special? Right now Peach is incredibly simple; it’s easy to maneuver and incorporates a command line interface reminiscent of Slack — for example, when adding a new post on Peach, type “GIF” to choose from a selection of animated GIFs, “Weather” to share the state of affairs outside, or “Events” to share what meetings you have to attend today (pulling from your calendar).

I took a spin through the app and here are my thoughts, but be warned: The app’s quite buggy.

Simplicity is key, right?

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 4.19.41 PM

Peach isn’t the first app to tackle the idea of a hyper-simple social network, joining the likes Snapchat, Ello, and to a certain degree, Yo. But what’s interesting is the Slack-like command line. The interface is pretty clean in that you’re not inundated with tons of options like you are with Facebook. But maybe it’s too simple? With hardly any users or things to do within the app, I quickly found myself wanting more.

2016-01-08 16.00.43Peach allows you to see any user’s post, but in order to comment, they have to accept your friend request. Among friends, you can “heart” things and even take advantage of the app’s version of the infamous Poke — you can wave at friends and send emojis like a cake, kiss, and so on.

There’s also a feature designed to help you think of things to post. Tap on the lightbulb icon and you’ll see questions like “What talent do you wish you had?” or “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” These questions are designed to help start conversations.

Say the “magic words”

Peach’s “magic words” give users the ability to quickly insert GIFs, doodles, the weather, and other information. Here’s a list of the ones I found:

  • GIF: share an animated GIF
  • Weather: share the weather
  • Events: share appointments from your calendar
  • Rate: rate something on a scale of 1 to 5 stars
  • Time: share the current time
  • Song: share whatever song your phone is playing
  • Draw: doodle right on the screen
  • Here: share your location
  • Battery: share your phone’s current charge
  • Move: share your movement today

Beware of imposters

2016-01-08 15.48.57When you sign up for Peach, you can choose any username. The app doesn’t integrate with Facebook or Twitter so there’s no way to verify users.

Therein lies possible trouble: you can be whoever you want. I could have signed up as Barack Obama if I wanted to. While looking up users who are currently on the service, I spotted Taylor Swift — after checking out her profile, I’m not convinced that the pop star signed up.

Remaining questions

Who’s behind the app?

The mastermind behind Peach is Dom Hoffman, the founder of Vine, which was acquired by Twitter in 2012. He left the company in 2013 and since then has focused on developing off-beat apps, like Byte.

Will brands capitalize on this?

giphy

Let’s not think about it right now. Please?

Are there sufficient privacy features?

The app allows you to limit your profile to only those you’ve friended, or you can be more open and enable friends of friends to see everything. Peach also offers a way to block users should the need arise.

Who needs another social network?

giphy (1)

We’re not saying Peach will become the next billion-dollar company, but it’s out there and trending on Twitter. The hype feels kinda like this right now.

Is it available on Android?

giphy (3)

Right now, no it’s not.

Is it free to use?

giphy (2)

Is VentureBeat on Peach?

Umm…yes. Add us @venturebeat.

You can download Peach here.










If you have $50K to blow, this very real virtual racing game will blow your mind

corvette racing game

It’s getting hard to distinguish between virtual reality, augmented reality, and plain old simple reality. And the distinctions are not getting any easier with California-based Sigma Intégrale’s new racing game product that includes an actual Corvette … or any other car you might want to sacrifice to the cause.

As long, of course, as you have the green to make it happen.

The car is real. The gas peddle works, the brakes work, the steering wheel is real, and so is the rest of the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including wheels. There’s no engine and no transmission, however, and at each corner of the vehicle is an actuator that gives you realistic lean, shake, and shudder as you drive, crash, and otherwise enjoy yourself. There is amazing in-car sound for the snarl of your nonexistent 800-horsepower motor.

And, since a car without an engine won’t drive very far, three 50” LCD screens right in front of your dash show you a 180-degree view of the world you are about to drive very, very quickly through.

“We’ve built eight cars like this,” a company representative told me at CES in Las Vegas today. “This is our showroom model.”

The car blurs the lines between virtual reality, augmented reality, and reality. You’re sitting in a real car, and a passenger can ride along with you. The bumps, acceleration, and crashes you sense feel real. The gas peddle’s effect on your engine’s snarl is visceral. But, of course, the car never really moves, and you’re in fact playing a PC version of Assetto Corso, the ultra-realistic racing simulator and game.

If you have the cash to buy a system like this, you probably also have the cash to set it up in its own large room, or in some massive home playground of sorts. But, you’ll be happy to know it runs off house current, drawing a steady 120 volts, storing it in capacitors, and releasing it as needed in bursts.

Driving it made me wonder: can I do this with my car?

“No, you can’t do this with a real car,” a Sigma representative told me. A real car with an engine and transmission would like be too heavy. And, there’d be challenges fitting the actuators in on each wheel.

So for now, for real driving feel and real driving thrills, I suppose I’ll have to stick to the real road.

Anyone who feels differently, however, will have to hit up Sigma for a custom build with the vehicle of their choice.










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