Once you’ve got a suite of apps covering email, office apps, maps, an intelligent assistant, photos, notes, calendars , messaging, social networking and just about everything else, there are not many new directions to explore.

Google still has new ideas for software though – hence its Who’s Down app, which just showed up on the App Store and Google Play. As you could probably guess from the name, it lets you see which of your friends are free to hang out right now.

After you’ve ascertained ‘who’s down’ you can start chatting inside the app and make plans to do something. Your ‘available’ status is good for three hours so think coffee in town rather than a camping weekend.

Call me maybe?

Google is not letting the wider public at large install the app – at least not yet. You have to be a college student in the US to get involved and even then there’s a waiting list to join. There’s been no official announcement from Mountain View about the app either.

This is obviously a small-scale roll-out then – although the same college student restrictions did not do Facebook any harm, helping to build up hype for the fledgling social network before it became available to anyone.

We do not know whether we’ll ever get chance to play around with Who’s Down and find out how good our friends are at avoiding us – but it’s interesting to see Google playing around with new ideas for spin-off apps outside of its established tools.

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