Google has launched many social networking services that have never caught on with the general public. That includes Google Plus, which started with a lot of hype in 2011, but eventually ended in 2019. In June 2020, the company quietly revealed it was working on a more modest social networking project, Google Keen.
So what is Google Keen? That is what we are going to reveal now.
Google Keen was first revealed in a Medium.com post by a team member of the company Cj Adams. In his post, he said the idea for the service came about when his wife wanted to share information, links, and more about her bird hobby with her husband. Adams, along with three other Google team members, decided they wanted to create a service that would make sharing information and resources about hobbies easier.
The four members worked on Keen as part of Google's Area 120 experimental project department. They also worked with the company's People and AI Research (PAIR) team, which develops machine learning-based systems to help people.
The service is currently available as a web app on Staykeen.com. It is also available as an Android mobile app through a web wrapper.
The service is free to use, but you must access it through a free Google account.
In the end, Google Keen looks and works a bit like the popular Pinterest service. When signing in with your free Google account, all you have to do is enter a title. For example, you might be interested in the original Star Trek TV show. On the Keen website or mobile web app, just type Star Trek The Original Series and then tap or click the The next box in the bottom right corner
You will then see a series of Google Search related web links based on your title. Click or tap on the links closest to your interest. Finally, click or tap the Create box, again in the bottom right corner.
You should see your newly created Keen page. Click on it and you will be taken to your main page. There are three tabs on your Keen page. The one that shows up first is Explore, where you can see the articles that appear on your topic through Google Search. There is another tab called Gems, and each item on the Explore page has a gem icon. Tap or click the gems to save the items you most want to open on your page. Finally, there is the Searches tab, which allows you to add more search topics to your sharp page.
You can manually add new photos, links or even texts to your Keen page via the Add button at the top. You can also use the button to add more via search or you can add new sections to your Keen page. There is also the Edit button to add more contributors to your page. Finally there is the Share button, which you can use to send a link to your Keen page to anyone, or invite someone to open and add the page.
An interesting thought about this service is that it uses machine learning to regularly suggest new links and content for your page.
Google Keen was designed as an experiment and is still in its infancy. Many of the company's Area 120 projects are being discontinued, although features of these projects are sometimes reflected in other products. It will be interesting to see if Keen ends up in its own stand-alone service, or is it shut down.
Did you sign up for Keen, and if so, how was your experience with the service?