Google wants to “supercharge your social life” with a new app made by its experimental arm Area 120. The budding social media app is called Shoelace.
Shoelace is aimed at growing your social circle rather than reaching the masses in the way that other social media sites are. The app comes across a bit like a dating app for friends – with a bit of speed-dating and online group chat to grow your number of friends.
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Shoelace describes itself as: “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”.
The app asks you to select your range of interests so it can then match you up with other like-minded people. Shoelace then looks for events – which it calls ‘Loops’ – happening in the area, and suggests them to the different appropriate interest groups. Shoelace users can then use the app to chat about the event and discuss plans for attending.
Shoelace is currently only available in New York. It’s harder to see how this could work in more rural areas. On the Shoelace website, you can ask for the company to bring the app to your area – no word on timelines for a wider rollout though.
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The company behind Shoelace is Google-owned Area 120. Area 120 is Google’s workshop for experimental products. It says its mission is “to use technology to help facilitate real-world connection”.
The app requires a level of verification to ensure user safety. Shoelace also lets you report Loops and user profiles if they fall foul of ‘House Rules’ and community standards.
The name is apparently derived from the app’s aim to “tie people together” – hence Loops too. Shoelace is available on both Android and iOS – however, you will require a Google account to sign in.