- HERE Mobility, a unit of German-owned HERE Technologies, launched SoMo, an app that combines aggregated transit and mobility information with a social aspect that allows users to choose who they travel with.
- The app’s name derives from the phrase "Social Mobility," and gives users the ability to share their rides and choose who to ride with, connect with people based on common interests and ride together to what the app calls a Gathering, which are events organized by other users. It also provides information on transit, taxis, ride-hailing, bike-share and more through its HERE Mobility Marketplace.
- “Just as platforms like LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Facebook have leveraged social connectivity, SoMo taps into the power of social networks to reimagine the future of transportation," HERE Head of Mobility Liad Itzhak said in a statement. "Standing at the forefront of the social mobility revolution, SoMo enables users to plan, share and ride in a way that’s simple and hassle-free."
For some time now, mobility apps have become less concerned with showing users one mode of transportation and have instead moved toward integrating them all in a one-stop shop. Both Uber and Lyft have made such moves, while Google Maps has continued to add new transportation information by partnering to show Lime’s dockless bikes and scooters in some cities and providing real-time commute information.
There appears to be a continued appetite on the part of developers to be a one-stop shop for commuting information, with the likes of Transit pushing hard to dominate the space, and digital information screen company TransitScreen branching into an app of its own.
The usage and growth of SoMo’s social aspect will be an interesting metric to track, as up until now companies have done little to integrate with existing social media platforms to try and help people connect with others. But there is perhaps a market for it; according to a recent survey by consultants McKinsey&Company, 50% of those who use ride-hailing said social experience is a key motivator for sharing rides.
Officials with HERE also hope the new app can convince more people to leave their personal cars behind and use other modes of transportation, and to share more rides. "Increasing the average car occupancy will make traffic jams disappear and will have an enormous impact on our planet, reducing pollution and making it much greener," Itzhak said.