The new app for Web & Andriod developed by Google – Keen, enables users to curate content basis their interests, share collections with others, and find new content based on what they have saved.
The experiment – Keen, is a part of Area 120, the Google workshop for experimental projects. CJ Adams, Co-founder, Keen mentioned, the app has been developed in close collaboration with a team at Google called People and AI Research (PAIR), dedicated to human-centered machine learning systems.
Users on Keen can curate content based on their interests and what they want to spend time on, from the web and people. You make a ‘keen’ about any topic, for instance, baking bread at home, getting into birding, or researching typography.
Users can curate for themselves or for other people.Keen can also be used to build a collection of resources on a topic they know well and share it with people who would enjoy the curation. The keens can be private or public.
Even if a user is not an expert on a topic, they can start curating a Keen and save a few interesting ‘gems’ or links that they find helpful. These bits of content act like seeds and help keen discover more and more related content over time. Users can also follow keens that others have created.
For every keen created, the platform uses Google Search and the latest in machine learning to remain on the lookout for content related to users’ interests. The more a user saves to a keen and organizes it, the better the recommendations become.
Google mentions, “Keen isn’t intended to be a place to spend endless hours browsing”. It cites Keen as a home for interests, to curate and share content around the interests and grow them.
The resemblance between Pinterest and Keen is very visible, and both apps are directly competitive, as both enable users to create a ‘keen’ or a ‘board’ of interests, and engage in DIY or leisure activities in the backdrop of the activities on the platform being social.
The reviews on the Play Store by users who used the app cite that Keen holds potential in the future, it has a cleaner UI than Pinterest, but presently it’s filled with bugs and the app needs a more user-friendly UI that is also in-line with the dimensions of the mobile that most users are using.
For instance, most buttons need to be moved at the bottom, as higher number of users now use phones with longer screens.
Users also say the app seems confusing at first, they don’t exactly know what the app is about or how can they use it, or what can they do with it. Most fail to understand that the app is primarily a curation of links to external websites and other platforms, along with from users being able to save text and images.
For instance, if Keen curates content about baking a cake, it will feature a website link for ingredients, another link for buying the ingredients, a YouTube link for the recipe, another for flavor-inspiration, and so on.
Monetizing the app, and increasing the average time spent on the app could be an issue. Furthermore, the app’s target audience is on Pinterest, users who would not want to shift or try a new app would be a loss for Keen.
As the app is at the experimental stage, it might not see the light of the day, if it fails to take off.