Branch: A New Place to Chat

Although the social networking world is a busy place, startup Branch believes that it could easily blend with the bevy of networks on the Web. According to its co-founder Josh Miller:

We absolutely see ourselves as being complementary to everything else. We don’t like the way that other companies point out negatives about other sites. We think Twitter is amazing. We think Facebook is amazing…. I think we’ll fit right in.

Branch is a site focused on helping people to have online conversations. It allows users to pick who they want to talk with, and they can also be added to a conversation by clicking on “Ask to Join” button.

How Branch Works

The day’s hot topics are listed on the site’s main page, while conversations on Branch are open to the public. However, it doesn’t have a feature to search for a particular user or topic as of the moment.

What’s best about this is that Branch conversations are available on Google’s search engine results. Users are even encouraged to share conversations. As Miller pointed out:

Other platforms want you to have your conversations just on that platform. We take a completely different approach. You can invite people by email or Twitter. When you’re done, you can embed it on your blog, or share it on Facebook or Twitter. We want to be intertwined with the rest of the Web.

Tough Competition on the Social Media Market

Despite the bevy of social media sites, Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy believes that there is a room for Branch in the social networking industry. According to him:

Branch fills the gap opened by Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Quora to enable high-quality conversations without the noise. It also takes advantage of the desire for more intimate, private conversations of self-selected groups.

On the other hand, Jim McGregor of TIRIAS Research believes that it would be difficult for Branch to gain traction.

Conversations could be done with the tools that are available today, namely Facebook and Twitter. I think this is more of a solution looking for a problem than the other way around. At this point, there are so many tools available that I think it is going to be difficult for any newcomer to standout from the crowd, not to mention finding a way to make money at it.

Nevertheless, Branch has a lot of support. In fact, it is backed by Obvious Corp., the company started by Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams. As of the moment, Branch is in public beta with invitations only available by request.