Google is launching a mobile application like Facebook, Shoelace Social Media App is Coming, Will Facebook be able to Collision. Even after the shutdown of Google+, which was meant to be a Facebook-competitor but it could never quite get to where Google imagined it, the company is reportedly working on another social network.
Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120, is working on a new social networking app called Shoelace which is aimed at organizing local events and activities. You use it by listing your interests in the app, allowing it to recommend a series of “hand-picked” local activities which it calls “Loops.” You can also organize your own events, and there’s a map interface to view and RSVP to other people’s Loops.
It's something of a relief to report, therefore, that this isn't another attempt by Google to reinvent the wheel, after throwing in the towel on Google+ just months ago. Nor is it a buyout of an existing social network like Orkut, or heaven forbid a weird intangible cypher like Google Buzz or Google Wave.
As per the Shoelace website, this 'match-making' is based on the interests and pick, and accordingly the app hooks you up with like-minded people for various activities. These match-makings could be hand-picked or custom-picked. Basically, if you are new in town, for instance, you could use the app to find more people with the same interest as yours, maybe someone to go to the gym with, or someone who likes swimming.
At the moment, the app has adopted an invite-only approach, with a launch in New York City and selected areas. One wonders whether Shoelace will get a wider rollout beyond more densely populated areas, as the location is the real selling point of the experience.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Area 120 group was created to house Google's experimental projects. This began with the Reply app, which started work on Smart Replies before they were formally added to the OS.
Area 120 projects aren't official Google products, but many have gone on to either be rolled out officially or bundled into existing products over time.