Got a keen interest?

Updated: Jun 24, 2020, 10:35 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

Then Google's got a new app to help you curate and save the content you love in a visually-appealing way

A keen on paper art
A keen on paper art

The popularity of the image sharing and social media service Pinterest can be attributed to the fact that it is a hub of not just discovering ideas, but saving or "pinning" them, too. So, whether you're planning a wedding theme or looking for beginner-friendly origami projects, it's the one place you know you can count on for direction. And so when Google launched AI-powered Keen last week without any fanfare via its in-house incubator Area 120, it was quickly touted as a move to take over Pinterest. But is it anything like it? Well, yes and no.

Keen is available on the Play Store as well as on the web. But it's worth noting that the app is not a native Android app yet, ie it loads on Chrome. The developer states that it "helps you expand your interests and connect them with other people." All you need to sign up is a Google account and then you dive straight into the homepage. Here, you have the option of creating your own "keen", sort of like a Pinterest board that corresponds to a particular interest. For instance, say, you wish to, like us, make a keen titled Luxury Handbags. After creating it, you are required to save searches — these can be particular brand names like Louis Vuitton, Loewe or Dior. Then, when you return back to the Explore tab, you'll find grids of articles/videos across websites pertaining to luxury handbags.

The Explore tab
The Explore tab

You can save what you like by clicking on the "gem" icon. An interesting nugget I stumbled upon in the Explore tab was a question on the hierarchy of luxury handbags, which doesn't really show up in the search results if I simply Google the term. So, while Pinterest might be a haven for trending topics, this app could uncover the niche.

The privacy settings of the keen can also be adjusted — keep it private or public, or make it shareable with a link. You can also add collaborators to the keen if you wish. Now, if you aren't interested in making your own keens, you also get to explore what others have made public, from Latin American dessert recipes and tips, and finding apartments in Budapest, to paper art and lucid dreaming. What also separates it from Pinterest is the interface; it's far cleaner and easier on the eyes. You don't feel like these images are forced upon you.

You can make notes for every gem you select
You can make notes for every gem you select

Although it might not be as useful for those accustomed to looking for inspiration on boards, which is what many use Pinterest for, Keen is a good option to organise your interests and potentially, if AI allows for it, get a wider understanding of the subject without deliberately having to look for it. We can see ourselves returning to it to make virtual reading/watching lists. It will spare us the need of colour-coded journaling since there's no effort required to make neat notes here, anyway.

Log on to staykeen.com or Keen (Experimental WebApp Wrapper) on Play Store

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