Google has quietly announced a content discovery service called Keen. Keen is being referred to as a Pinterest competitor but that’s not entirely accurate.
Keen is a machine learning app that actively promotes relevant web pages to users. Keen is poised to become a new source of referral traffic, which makes it worthy of investigation.
What is Keen
Keen is an experimental web and Android app that is a part of Google’s Area 120 projects. Area 120 is described as where small teams can work together in a small startup mode to bring innovative projects to life.
According to an official post on Google, the project grew out of a husband and wife sharing information about activities that were important to them, activities they wanted to share with each other.
As they gathered links and resources related to their hobbies and goals, the Googler understood that he needed a tool that not only helped curate and share those ideas but to discover more of those ideas.
The post explains:
“It was powerful to tell each other what we wanted to spend more time on. And once we did, we found that collecting related ideas, links and resources together gave us a way to spend more time on our shared passions in real life.
To explore this idea further, four colleagues and I created a new experiment called Keen…”
The curated content can be shared with the public, with specific people or kept private.
What sets Keen apart from Pinterest is that Keen uses Google Search and machine learning to help surface content that is related to your interest.
As your collection grows Keen becomes even better at surfacing the kind of content users are interested in.
This is a proactive content discovery method.
According to the official announcement you can:
“Save and add links, text, images and web searches. Everything you add gets you more to explore…”
That “more to explore” part is what is going to help the web ecosystem receive more traffic.
Keen is a New Channel for Traffic
Keen represents a new opportunity to grow popularity and traffic.
The most powerful recommendation a website can receive is a recommendation from one friend to another.
The value of Keen to the web ecosystem is that it represents a new way for users to discover web content.
Keen actively searches and suggests relevant content to users.
A search engine is passive. It waits for someone to ask it a question. Keen is proactive.
Instead of passively suggesting content in response to search queries, Keen actively recommends content that people will enjoy.
This is far more than a Pinterest competitor. It’s a way to grow traffic and popularity.
Web publishers, search marketers and web stores may find it useful to look into Keen to see how it may fit into their marketing strategy.