One of Area 120’s many experimental apps is a hyperlocal social service for group meetups. Born out of Google’s internal incubator and only available in New York City, Shoelace announced today that it has “decided to pause operations” in response to the coronavirus.

Shoelace is billed as a way to “explore NYC” and “find group activities with others who share your interests.” After creating a profile, you join one of six communities related to arts, nightlife, lgbtq+, fitness, gaming, foodies, and a general “social butterflies” group. This will surface a number of activities — called “Loops” — curated by editors that you can RSVP to:

Shoelace is about building communities of real people in the real world. So when you attend, you can always bring friends or make new ones. Either way, you’ll expand your circle over time with others who share your passions.

The top of the app today (h/t The Information) features a “Putting your health first” Loop from Google complete with yellow warning sign:

At Shoelace, your safety is our top priority and we have been monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation very carefully. Based on our most up-to-date assessment, and in consideration of general public health and safety, we have decided to pause operations. We will be in touch when the creation of new Loops resumes.

Given that Shoelace’s entire purpose is to bring people together, Google decided to “pause operations” and the “creation of new Loops.” Users of the app today received a notification about the service’s temporary suspension (thanks Jondan).

Until last month, Shoelace for Android and iOS was invite-only and required a code to register. It’s unclear how many users the niche, but interesting application has garnered and will be impacted.

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