Google takes another run at social networking with Shoelace
Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120, is working on a new social networking app called Shoelace which is aimed at organizing local events and activities. You use it by listing your interests in the app, allowing it to recommend a series of “hand-picked” local activities which it calls “Loops.” You can also organize your own events, and there’s a map interface to view and RSVP to other people’s Loops.
Shoelace’s soft-launch comes just months after Google shut down Google+, its most prominent attempt at building a social media platform. However, rather than trying to create a new all-encompassing social network to rival the likes of Facebook, Shoelace seems to have much more modest ambitions that take aim at Facebook’s ubiquitous Events functionality.
Android Police notes that Shoelace bears a striking similarity to Schemer, another experimental event organizing app from Google that launched in 2011. Unfortunately, the app was shut down just three years later in 2014 with few mourning its passing.
Shoelace is currently in an invite-only testing phase on iOS and Android, but you can fill out this form if you’d like to get involved. You need to have a Google account to sign in. Unfortunately it’s also only available in New York City at the moment; the team says it’s hoping to expand to more cities across the US soon. There’s no word on when this might happen, but a similarly NYC-centric Area 120 app, Pigeon, is yet to expand outside of the city more than a year after its initial launch.