Google gives social networking another try with new Shoelace app

Barely three months after shutting down its Google+ social media platform, and essentially admitting defeat at the hands of Facebook and Twitter, Google is back with a new app called Shoelace that is being tested with more-modest aims than the company’s prior social-networking efforts.

Shoelace is a product of Google’s Area 120 incubator, which bills itself as having a mission “to use technology to help facilitate real-world connection.” And, at least initially, Shoelace looks like it is designed to get people off their digital devices and doing actual, real-world activities with others who share similar interests.

When someone uses the Shoelace app, they are given options to list things or activities they are interested in. The app will then offer up what it calls “Loops”, or groups of local events its has picked that match a person’s interest profile. Shoelace also gives a person the ability to seek out others and organize activities and event.

In what may be a sign of Google’s ambitions for Shoelace, the app is being tested for use only in New York. You have to have an Apple iOS or Google Android device, and receive an invitation from Google to test Shoelace. Persons who haven’t gotten an invitation can fill out a form requesting a code.

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Google said it will use the New York market to test current and new features of Shoelace, with a goal of eventually rolling out Shoelace across the United States. No timetable has been set for expanding Shoelace to other markets.

Google shut down its last major social-networking plaform, Google+, in early April after almost eight years of operation, and a reported peak of 111 million users, due to what the company said was a lack of interest and interactions among consumers. The popularity of Google+ was also affected by Google disclosing in December 2018 that a design flaw had given hackers access to the personal information of more than 52 million Google+ users.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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