Singapore-based Nearcircles, a messaging app that allows residents living in the same neighbourhood to engage in community-related discussions, is launching an Android version of its mobile application of 9 August 2015.
Currently available on i0S, the Android launch is designed to coincide with Singapore’s 50th year of Independence being celebrated. The mobile app allows users to pose questions, sell household items to neighbours and find like-minded individuals via joining lifestyle groups in their local community areas.
The app aims to function as a hyperlocal social networking and deals platform, providing a platform for neighbours and members of geographically-bounded communities to connect with each other. Through it, users can participate in general discussions in their area, form groups and create events with their neighbours.
The three features, which Nearcircles claims as differentiating it and assisting users are – geo-tagging to neighbourhoods, neighbourhood switching between cities for travellers and encouraging users to interact within their own neighbourhood with their real neighbours during registration.
The aim is to facilitate social cohesion through linking people in close geographical proximity, given the social and lifestyle differences of modern urban communities in Asia compared to rural communities of the past. Commenting on the concept behind Nearcircles, Suresh Mylavarapu, the founder and principal of Nearcircles, said, “Today our local communities are not connected anymore.”
Mylavarapu added, “Existing social platforms allow us to connect with the world, but not our surroundings. There have been few apps in the hyperlocal space but predominantly in the dating side. With a target to create connected neighbourhoods, we have developed Nearcircles.”
Enabling people from the same neighbourhood to connect is aimed at generating social capital, as well as tapping onto the emergence of the sharing economy, which is also termed ‘collaborative consumption’ and is an economic model of peer-to-peer (P2P) businesses in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else.
However, the disruption and impact such ‘sharing economy’ businesses – the most famous examples being Airbnb and Uber – has generated considerable opposition.