Google’s Area 120 team, an internal hatcher group that develops experimental applications and services, has launched Keen, a platform similar to Pinterest, that it is based on the tech giant’s machine learning expertise to curate topics.
“On Keen […] you say what you want to spend more time on, and then curate content from the web and people you trust to help make that happen,” writes Adams in a blog post. “You make a ‘keen,’ which can be about any topic, whether it’s baking delicious bread at home, getting into birding, or researching typography. Keen lets you curate the content you love, share your collection with others, and find new content based on what you have saved.”
What Keen That Pinterest Doesn’t?
However, most social media feed you browse is personalizing the content to your interests in any way it can. Pinterest has already dominated the hobby-based side of this market with its pinboard-style visual design, which are the features Keen is trying hard to imitate.
Overall, a thing Keen has, and Pinterest doesn’t is Google’s expertise in machine learning, which Adams says it is showing up ‘helpful content related to your interests.’
“Even if you’re not an expert on a topic, you can start curating a keen and save a few interesting ‘gems’ or links that you find helpful,” says Adams. “These bits of content act like seeds and help keen discover more and more related content over time.”
Still, it is not like Pinterest doesn’t use AI either. While machine learning’s capacity to find patterns in data exceeds that of humans in many fields, in terms of niche hobbies and interests, the collective intuitions of a massive and committed userbase is able to surpass those of the machines for now.
There’s also the question of what Google intends to get out of this project with regard to data. The tech giant has never been able to enter the social space, an area of online activity that produces loads of lucrative data for targeting ads.