Technology

More time on real life, less time on social media: Meet Google's Shoelace

New project by Google wants to inspire real-world connections

  • Shoelace is an experimental project by Google’s incubator Area 120
  • The location-based social network seems like a fusion between Facebook Events and a Whatsapp group chat

After shutting down Google + and other social networks that weren’t exactly a hit, Google hasn’t given up on the project: the tech-giant has just launched a new location-based platform called Shoelace, whose purpose is to encourage people to find things to do and friends that share interests in common.

According to the app’s website “Shoelace is a mobile app that helps connect people with shared interests through in person activities. It’s great for folks who have recently moved cities or who are looking to meet others who live nearby.” As reported by TechCrunch, the name choice plays with the idea of tying things together, being sort of a mix between Facebook Events and a WhatsApp group chat.

Focusing on connecting people based on location is not necessarily something new, as other companies have already used the technology to allow users to interact with those who are nearby and share similar interests. Who remembers the beginning of Foursquare?

Available for now only in New York and just for invited users, Shoelace is a project from the Google’s in-house incubator Area 120, an experimental program within the tech-giant that helps small teams build new products faster. 

Among its main features, the app offers a hyper-location tool for users creating listings for events (called Loops) which can be shared with others, giving users the opportunity to make new friends. If users don’t want to suggest such activities themselves, they can fill interests in their own app’s profile, for which Shoelace will reply with tailor-made suggestions of events and activities. 

The general gist? Connect people with interests in common through the app, so as to then make those people reach out beyond the app and actually do something they like in the real world – and share it with real people – kind of the opposite of similar social apps such as Facebook and Instagram. It’s too early to say if it’s going to work, but Google plans to take the social network to other cities across the USA in the future. 

Shoelace is already available on Android and iOS for users who have an invite.