Google launches Keen – An AI-powered rival to Pinterest


Google has launched a new content curating social media platform called Keen, which allows users to collect and discover ideas about topics of their choosing.

Keen was developed by Area 120, a Google workshop for experimental products, and works in a similar way to Pinterest.

“Keen lets you curate the content you love, share your collection with others and find new content based on what you have saved,” Keen co-founder CJ Adams explained.

Users start off by naming and creating a “keen”, a collection to which they can add images, links, text or other content on a particular topic.

Additionally, they can follow keens created by other users to discover more lists from community members and get notifications when new content is added.

Machine-learning power

One powerful tool at the disposal of Keen is the machine-learning capability of Google.

Adams said they had collaborated closely with a team at the search giant’s People and AI Research (PAIR),  which is dedicated to human-centred machine learning systems, for the development of the app.

“For every keen you create, we use Google Search and the latest in machine learning to remain on the lookout for helpful content related to your interests,” Adams said.

“The more you save to a keen and organise it, the better the recommendations become,” he added.

This means even if users were not experts on a topic, they can start off by building their keen with a few interesting “gems” or links they may find useful.

From here, the app will curate recommendations based on the user’s interest.

“These bits of content act like seeds and help Keen discover more and more related content over time,” Adams stated.

Google’s experiments

It remains to be seen if Keen can be successful, or end up like many of Google’s cancelled experimental projects.

The company is known for killing off several projects every month, many of which had been in development for years. A long list of its trashed projects can be viewed on the Killed by Google webpage.

One recent victim includes Google Station, which was available in South Africa. This initiative provided its partners with software and guidance for the rollout of Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces.

The company’s Google Play Music app is also set to be shut down and replaced with YouTube Music by the end of 2020.