Google was forced to shut down its first (and only) social network Google+ back in April.
Part of the reason was a major breach that exposed users, but arguably the main reason was that it just kinda sucked. And yet, it looks like Google is ready to try again.
The company is currently trialing something it calls Shoelace. It’s a hyperlocal social network that lets people with similar interests and hobbies meet up in the neighbourhood. Think of it like a Facebook group for just your local area, if the main idea was to use the network to get out into the real world.
Shoelace is a product of Area 120, Google’s experimental products division. It’s currently only available in New York City, though the company indicates that it’s looking to expand it nationwide, given a favourable response. And if that works out as well, maybe we’ll even see the birth of a whole new global social network.
It’s also invite-only right now, and promises “Hand-picked things to do with others who share your interests.” All you have to do is create a listing, liking a sporting event you’re going to watch, or a show, or even organising a doggy play group at the park. Then, after you’ve tagged the location as well, people can join you. The app also learns from your choice of events, and tries to surface listings you might be interested in.
It’s a concept Google has flirted with once before, but that didn’t work out so well. Perhaps they’ve learned better this time. At the very least though, it’s easy enough to integrate into Google Maps, and Google already collects a ton of data about your interests based on your emails and browsing habits.
May as well put it to some use for you.