Peach is a new media-first social communications app for iOS, developed by Dom Hofmann, cofounder of Vine (which was acquired by Twitter in October 2012 for $30 million and has since been integrated into Twitter).
Peach is a multipurpose app that embraces the sharing zeitgeist of social communications services, but it differentiates itself by applying a sophisticated search capability to on and offline resources.
The question is whether Peach is different enough to survive in an already crowded market.
“Peach is an app that’s trying to be a little bit of everything,” says Pamela Clark-Dickson, Research Analyst, Ovum.
“It’s a social media app where users can post content, add friends (including brands), and follow “spaces” (i.e. pages).
“Users can set their privacy to “friends” or “friends of friends” for now. It’s a bit like the enterprise messaging app Slack in that it uses what appears to be a bot-based search function, called “Magic Words,” to allow users to easily access resources and applications on their device.
“Peach is also shaping up to be a messaging app with rich-media capabilities, thus tapping into the popularity of content-sharing apps such as Instagram and Snapchat.”
For now, Clark-Dickson believes it’s the Magic Words capability that sets Peach apart from its peers.
With “magic” words such as “battery,” “event,” “browser,” and “song,” Peach can return information to the user from applications on their device or give them easy access to resources such as their music library or the Internet.
As Clark-Dickson explains, Magic Words also allows users to draw, search for a GIF, “shout” (i.e. write in big letters on a coloured background or over a photo), and share information about movies, TV shows, video games, and books on their space.
In addition, information about Magic Words is easily found within the app.
“The use of bots and artificial intelligence in communications apps is growing, but the market for these apps remains nascent, with most apps either in development or at beta stage,” Clark-Dickson adds.
“Such apps include Facebook’s M virtual assistant and chat-based shopping apps Operator, Assist, and Magic. Google is also reportedly building bot capabilities into its new messenger.”
There’s no doubt that Peach is an innovative app that pushes the boundaries of what a communications app can do, but as Clark-Dickson points out, there are key features that it does not yet have.
Some of these features are already in development, such as direct messaging and cross-platform support.
However, there is no indication that Peach will move further into the communications space to add VoIP and video calling, which have become standard features on other social communications apps.
“Although Magic Words is not yet as sophisticated in scope as, say, Operator or Assist, what is interesting is that brands are already starting to engage with Peach, in much the same way as with Twitter and Facebook,” Clark-Dickson adds.