Circles. We all belong to a variety of social and work related circles. We have a circle of friends. A circle of close employees. There’s a family circle. A neighborhood circle. The circle of life. No. Wait. That’s the Lion King. But it fits.
Some of us have large and growing circles. Some of us keep to ourselves and our circles are fewer and smaller. Almost everyone has multiple circles that overlap into other circles. For example, co-workers might also be friends; neighbors might also be family. We’re even in high tech circles.
Numbers Is Facts
Allow me to look at a few very big numbers and what companies go through to increase the size of various numbers, and to make more numbers.
McDonald’s sells billions of hamburgers. Facebook has about 2.5-billion monthly users, a billion on Instagram, and 1.5-billion on WhatsApp, and more than a billion on Messenger. Lots of overlap there. What about the internet?
That’s one of our circles, too, and that one has about 4-billion users. Apple claims to have 1.5-billion users; Mac, iPhone, iPad, et al. All those numbers cause technology companies to get wonky trying to increase the numbers in the circles and the number of circles.
Take Google. Please.
Google has a few billion users, too. Not customers. Users. If you buy ads on Google, you’re a customer. If you use Google to search the internet or Gmail for email, then you’re a user. Each are circles that Google manages.
Guess who wants more circles and larger circles? Google. It seems as if Google product development– to make more circles– throws more mud on the wall that Samsung.
Remember Google Buzz? How about Google+? There was Orkut, Google Wave, Allo, and many others. The latest Google effort to create more circles and put more of its users into the circles is called Shoelace.
Shoelace is a mobile app that helps connect people with shared interests through in person activities. It’s great for folks who have recently moved cities or who are looking to meet others who live nearby.
Why is that important? Do we not already have enough circles? After all, each social network you use, or each app you download and use puts you in yet another circle.
OK, so there is yet another social media circle to sign up for and use.
Shoelace was built by a small team in Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental products. Our mission is to use technology to help facilitate real-world connection
Oh. I get it. Shoelace is another Google beta product. That means it won’t last long so why bother to sign up and figure out how to use it?
And, since it’s from Google, is it even safe to use?
We take safety and privacy very seriously at Shoelace. After installing the app, we ask each user to join a community– which often require verification– to ensure you only attend Loops with people you 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.
Yeah, the fine print nobody reads.
Google has far too many Google names, so Shoelace has a meaning to tie all the personal circles together, right?
The whole premise of Shoelace is to tie people together based on their interests — like two laces on a shoe. We do so through activities — which are fittingly called ‘Loops.’
OK, it’s another nice idea from Google that mimics something already present in all kinds of other social media circles. Facebook and LinkedIn come to mind, too.
Why do technology companies do this kind of thing?
Numbers. Big numbers. Each of the giants mentioned above have very large numbers of customers or users (mostly users) and they want to milk them for all the value they can possibly squeeze from an online user before they revolt and create their own ad blocker and tracker blocker service.
Yes, Apple has big numbers, too, and, yes, Apple is doing everything it can to squeeze more revenue and profits from members of the company’s various circles.
It’s the circle of life.