Google’s AI-powered platform Keen, being pitched as a rival to Pinterest, aims to be an alternative to ‘mindlessly’ browsing online feeds
By Shriya Roy
Everyone, especially millennials, are familiar with Pinterest. A social networking site, it allows users to share and discover new interests by posting (also known as ‘pinning’) images or videos to their own or others’ boards. They can also browse what other users have pinned. The platform is focused on the concept of allowing users to share their tastes and interests with others and discovering those of like-minded people. Launched in 2010, the app was touted as a rival to social media giant Facebook.
In the latest technological development, though, Google has taken on Pinterest with its new artificial intelligence-powered app Keen. Google is pitching Keen as the new way to “share your passions” with people. On Keen, users can curate special boards based on their interests. For example, if someone likes football, they can make a football-themed board (called a keen), which Google will auto populate with content relevant to that particular interest.
Keen is being pitched as a rival to Pinterest, but unlike the latter, it works through Google’s AI and search engine technology. Unlike Pinterest, Keen does not just passively recommend content in response to search queries, it actively searches and suggests relevant content to users. It’s a social platform, so users can also share their themed boards with others or even invite friends to be collaborators to help build the best board.
Keen, which draws on Google’s machine learning expertise to curate topics, aims to be an alternative to “mindlessly” browsing online feeds, said co-founder CJ Adams. “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. You make a keen, which can be about any topic, be it 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,” said Adams.
The platform provides an easy way to save bookmarks or links in a visually pleasing format, helping increase traffic and popularity. The content curated can be kept private, shared with a certain number of people or with the public. Users can also follow other people’s keens and get alerts when new content is added.
Ken can especially be beneficial to website publishers and content marketers in the long run, as it can help them devise various marketing strategies. The best part about it is that the more information Keen gathers about one’s preferences, the more accurate the results get. Interestingly, the user interface of the app resembles a magazine. It presents a good collation of ideas and aids with developing an idea from snippets of information and searches.
While Pinterest still remains the top used app, many other such apps and platforms have come up in the past few years. Mamby, for one, is a social media platform that has everything that Pinterest offers, but also uses an advanced algorithm and rewards its users by paying them for the number of likes and views their posts get. Juxtapost, a close second to Pinterest, is based on the same idea of browsing, viewing and gathering ideas. FoodGawker is another Pinterest alternative specifically dedicated to foodies.
It is specifically dedicated to sharing and viewing pictures of food. Designspiration, on the other hand, is for designers, where they can get ideas and share their own as well. While Keen aims to counter the singular popularity of Pinterest, encompassing all check boxes and adding a touch of AI, it is still to be seen if it can successfully make a mark.