When you are new in a big city, friends can be hard to come by. This is where Spherials comes in, helping to set up “hyperlocal pop-up communities.” And while smartphones can take us away from our environment, this app actually encourages you to meet people in real life.

Sure, there is Facebook for your friends and Tinder/Grindr for hook-ups, but actually meeting folks who might like the same stuff as you can be difficult. An app for iPhone, Android, and Windows, Spherials helps you join or set up “hyperlocal pop-up communities” or “spherials” based around a particular venue – whether that’s a club, restaurant, or museum – and it’s all done via your smartphone.

Spherials app smart magazine
Spherials helps to set up “hyperlocal pop-up communities.”

Since Spherials is location-based, only users in the immediate vicinity can join a pop-up. But once you are in, you can chat in-app with other members or even do something old-fashioned and introduce yourself to someone else in real life – at least you will have something to talk about.

In real terms, what’s in it for the user? Let’s say you are going to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. You join the Spherials community through your phone and immediately get hints on what paintings to see, rooms to avoid, and the cake situation in the cafe. Always vital, that last one.

And no need to be worried about letting a load of strangers see your details. The only thing you need to provide on joining is a username. Since there is no Facebook log-in, you can simply leave any spherial you don’t like without anyone knowing anything about you.

The user experience is cool, too. When you open the app, spherials appear on the map of your area – like little domes sitting on the street. If something tickles your fancy (like a bar), you can join the fun – but only when you are in its zone. The whole point of the app is its immediacy.

While smartphones can take us away from our environment, Spherials does something different: It actually encourages us to use our devices to meet people in real life.

You might even want to look up from your screen for a while.

For more information, check out the Spherials site or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Price: free
System: iOS7 or higher; Android 2.2 or higher; Windows Phone 8 or higher
Size: 11.8 MB

All the photos, incl. the header image: Spherials