Google is testing a new social media site called Shoelace in the US, that helps connect people with shared interests through in-person activities.
The service’s name comes from the purpose of Shoelaces, which is to tie people together based on their interests like two laces on a shoe. Following the theme, the activities are called Loops.
Google says the service will “supercharge your social life” with curated lists of nearby events which are easy to find and plan, and open to non Shoelace users too.
In the FAQ, the Internet giant assures it takes safety and privacy seriously at Shoelace and asks that users to join a community to ensure they only attend Loops with people they might want to know.
“We also work hard to make sure that everything you see in Shoelace – from profiles to Loops – is aligned with our House Rules and community standards. Think we missed something? Report a Loop or profile and we’ll work hard to fix the situation,” it adds.
According to the microsite, Google is focusing its efforts on New York City, though it intends to bring the service to other cities too.
“This will help us determine what works and what doesn’t as we work to make the app available to more people. In the meantime let us know if you’d like to bring Shoelace to your community,” it says.
Shoelace is currently operating on an invite-only basis and has partnered with select communities for now.
The app is available on both the Google Play store and Apple App store, and runs on Android 8 Oreo and newer, or iOS 11 and newer. Users must have a Google account to sign in.
Android Police reports that Google had made a similar hyperlocal social network called Schemer back in 2011, which was retired after two years.
It adds that Google has a questionable track record with social media: its most well known attempt, Google+ – which also launched in 2011 to challenge Facebook and Twitter – ultimately shuttered back in April 2019.