Yesterday, Google’s experimental incubator Area 120 unveiled its latest project. It’s an app called Shoelace, and its goal is to help people find things to do with other people who share their interests. Sound familiar? Probably, because it sounds like another crack at a social network.
For context, Google’s last social network, Google+, shut down in April (sort of), and then was reborn as the enterprise-focused Google Currents. For even more context, it’s worth noting that Google+ is the successor to Google Buzz, Google’s social networking/microblogging/messaging tool that was discontinued in 2011.
How Shoelace works: Users can browse through Shoelace’s daily-picked activities, from pickup soccer to dog playdates to comedy shows, or add their own events, dubbed “loops,” to a map. It’s sort of like if Meetup and Facebook Events and a WhatsApp group chat had a baby, served up in a sleek design aimed at millennials and Gen Z-ers.
What it’s really closer to is a social network like Nextdoor, which is based on local connections. While Google is definitely entering a crowded market with Shoelace, there’s clearly a need for a digital tool that facilitates IRL, local connections, because companies keep launching these types of products.
A sampling: There’s Islands for college students, Snap Map to see where your friends are, Hey! for matching and meeting up with others, IRL Social Calendar to help you plan IRL hangs and many, many more.
To start, Shoelace is testing the waters in NYC. If you’re based in New York, maybe try it out this weekend and tell us what you think. If you’re anywhere else in the world, would you use this in your city? Tell us here.