Google has recently created an app that works in a similar way to Pinterest, which they have called Keen.
Rather than having boards of images that you ‘pin’ to, Keen lets you curate content from the web in a similar style, but you start with a topic or a search term.
What is Google Keen?
Google Keen is an experiment by Googlers at Area 120, that allows a user to expand a topic or something a person is ‘keen’ on, and collate this information for themselves or to share with others.
It’s a really simple idea of saving an interest or search term that generates a collection of similar information to explore further. Then, as you build more content within your particular interest, Google begins to learn and understand what you are interested in and starts to suggest more content for you to consume.
You can save all sorts of content in Keen, videos, blog posts, links. You can share your Keens, add collaborators to your Keens, follow other like-minded peoples Keens or even keep them private. All very similar to Pinterest.
There is one huge advantage to this project, and that is that a Search engine is reactive, it waits for a user to type in a query before it provides an answer. Whereas Keen is designed to be proactive and source related content that’ll you’ll be interested in, without even asking!
Keen will actively search and suggest new relevant content based on other content that you have already consumed. The beauty being, the more content you consume and add to keen. The more Keen will learn what you like and be able to target more and more of what is appealing to you.
We all know how much of a time vacuum social media can be, one minute you are scrolling on Facebook or Pinterest, then suddenly, an hour has passed and you are somehow watching hilarious cat videos!
However, Google claims that Keen won’t be a place to spend hours browsing, as CJ Adams from Google explains on his blog here
“Keen isn’t intended to be a place to spend endless hours browsing. Instead, it’s a home for your interests: a place to grow them, share them with loved ones and find things that will help in making this precious life count.”
What is Googles’ area 120?
Google has its own workshop for experimental projects called Area 120, where small teams of Googlers can work together on ideas in a small startup-style approach to bring ideas and projects to life. This is exactly what Keen is, and at the moment, does only seem to be an idea or an experiment.
However, for those of you that have heard of Facebook or watched the film ‘The Social Network’ you’ll know just how well Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘experiment’ whilst at university turned out!
On Area 120’s website Google does, however, claim to
“Build, Launch and iterate on dozens of novel ideas that might otherwise not be explored. Most of these experiments will fail”
So there’s no saying whether this is a small scale experiment that will never go anywhere or could be the next big platform on the internet.
I think the big difference with Keen, is that it does have potential If it works! There’s so much content out there on the web and peoples time is becoming more and more precious, so having one place to go to, to consume hyper-relevant, without the distracting cat videos, could be a really bold move. However, if it is simply showing you search results that you can already get on the internet? Then is there really a need for it? Only time will tell on this one and as it’s currently only an experiment, there’s no saying whether it will ever become mainstream and adopted by the masses.
Maybe no real contender for Pinterest after all!
Let’s watch this space to see if Keen is the new platform of the future.