Google has one of the worst records when it comes to social networks. Yet, we have to give Google some credit for never giving up. Following the shutdown of platforms like Orkut, Google Buzz, and Google+. Also, the shuttering of messaging services like Allo and Google Wave. It appears that Google is testing out yet another social network, this one called Shoelace.
Area 120, a Google in-house incubator, is working on the new social networking app. The platform focuses on organizing local events and activities. By listing your interests in the app, allowing it to recommend a series of local activities which it calls “Loops”. You can also organize your own events, and there’s a map interface to interact with other people’s Loops.
It is imperative to note that there is a difference in approach. This time around, instead of going for an all out social media network that is meant to compete with Facebook, Google is going for something decidedly smaller scale and a lot more community oriented. Shoelace will be a highly localized platform that is meant to connect you to people that are close by. Basically, if you are about to attend a concert of some sort or perhaps go to a sports game and you would like someone to accompany you, Shoelace will be a place where you can find people with similar interests.
While it’s too early to tell whether Shoelace will be a hit with mobile users, the app already is inviting comparisons with Nextdoor, which focuses on connecting people based on their neighborhoods. By encouraging people to meet face-to-face, Shoelace is part of a broader effort by Google to address growing concerns that modern technologies like smartphones are having a negative effect on mental health.
Unfortunately, Shoelace is currently only available in New York City. Google says its goal is to bring Shoelace to many cities across the U.S. in the future. Google is even taking requests for suggestions on places it should bring Shoelace to next. Access to Shoelace is invite-only for now, but it’s probably not long till Google releases a more public version.
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