Everything to Know About Google’s New Social Network, Shoelace
Google is launching a new social networking platform. The launch comes just months after the company shut down Google+, its most successful attempt at building a social media website.
The new social media platform is called Shoelace. Let's quickly cover everything there's to know about it for now.
WHAT IS SHOELACE?
Okay, so this new social network is an app that aims to bring people together in real-life, not just digitally, through common interests and activities.
According to the Shoelace 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.”
In other words, the new social networking app is aimed at helping like-minded people easily plan and organize local events and activities.
So rather than Google creating a new all-encompassing social network to rival the likes of Facebook, Shoelace is designed with a much more modest ambition to act in a similar way as Facebook Events.
Shoelace was built by Area 120, Google's workshop for experimental products. But it bears a striking similarity to Schemer, another experimental event organizing app Google launched in 2011 and shut down just three years later in 2014.
HOW SHOELACE WORKS
Basically, Shoelace is built around the premise of using technology to facilitate a real-world connection. That is, "to tie people together based on their interests -- like two laces on a shoe." Do you get the point?
And this whole "shoe-lacing" thing is done through activities Shoelace calls “Loops.”
It's aimed at letting you supercharge your social life by easily finding other people who share your interests. Well, because meeting new people is easier and more fun when you have more in common.
You can create your own events and activities and invite others to join, whether they are Shoelace users or not. To join other people's events, there’s a map interface to view and RSVP to other people’s Loops. You can also set up a profile to share information about yourself and view other users' profiles.
HOW TO USE SHOELACE
Shoelace is designed to present to users hand-picked activities happening around them every day.
So first, there'll be a list of activities from which users will be able to select based on topics that interest them, like sports, wine, dogs, art, books, decor, running, etc.
Once a user selects their hand-picked activities based on interests, Shoelace will then show them what is going on around them that day for users to partake in the real world.
Shoelace is designed to focus on human-to-human, real-world activities rather than digital. This means, it is trying to get you off your phone to meet people face-to-face instead of keeping you hooked to your smartphone or computer.
In fact, Shoelace is part of a larger effort by Google to address concerns that smartphones and other modern technology are having a negative effect on people's physical connection with others as well as on mental health.
HOW TO JOIN SHOELACE?
Shoelace is currently in an invite-only testing phase on Android and iOS. This beta version is only available in New York City for now, where Google is testing it on a small group of people. The Area 120 team says it is hoping to expand to more cities across the US soon. There’s no word on when this might happen, but you can fill out a form on their website if you’d like to get involved. To participate, you need a Google account to sign in.