If you think Google has already given up on its social networking ambitions, it looks like you may be partly wrong. Area 120, the company that does all of their experimental projects before the tech giant decides on pursuing a product, has announced the arrival of Shoelace, a hyperlocal social networking app. It doesn’t look to be an exact competitor to brands like Facebook or Twitter as it is more concerned with letting you meet new people who are near you.
This isn’t the first time that Google has actually gone into the hyperlocal app as previously they launched something called Schemer which lasted only 2 years and wasn’t even that widely released. This time around, they’re starting small again, launching in New York City and by invitation only. Since community building is the ultimate goal of this app, they’re partnering with select communities, although they didn’t really specify which those are.
According to a post on Android Police, the app is structured around meeting people that are near you and that share the same interests. They will also suggest activities and events that you can attend and do together, from pick up sports games to comedy shows around the town, etc. The idea is to make it easy for you to connect with those they believe you will get along with.
The algorithm for this app is not explained yet so we can’t really judge it yet. But we may be dealing with a lot of human curation to handpick the activities that you and your “crew” can do. They will probably enlist community organizers and mangers to help both the curation and the And to protect people’s privacy, there will be verification before you can join, although what that looks like still isn’t clear right now.
It looks like Area 120 and Google are taking things pretty slow to take the pulse of users first and to manage expectations. While Google+ gave other major social networks a fright in its early days, it eventually ran out of steam and had to close down for good just this year. Let’s see what lies ahead for Shoelace.