Google's new social network Keen: How does it work?

Keen is a new social network from Google and the creators at Google Area 120. It's an experimental sort of system in which users can create a "Keen" with a set of keywords for their interests. These "Keens" automatically retrieve "resources" (webpages and articles and such) for the user at user-set intervals of time. You can also "collaborate" on a Keen. But what's all that mean, and why should you care?

How do I Keen?

This week Google revealed that they'd released this system called Keen. You can access and work with Keen in a web browser, or you can download the "app" for your Android device. I say "app" with quotes because the app is (at the moment) basically a wrapper for the Chrome web browser-housed webpage. It functions like an app, but it's sorta... not.

You'll be encouraged to start your own Profile with your Google account, then start making a Keen. A Keen requires that you pick a keyword or phrase or two, then tap the button to create. And that's basically it. Once the Keen is made, you can modify the Keen or delete the Keen, or invite a friend to add to a Keen if they wish.

Once you've created a Keen, you'll get automatically-added content as selected by Keen's connections with Google Search. You'll also have the ability to Add a link or text, Add from Search, or Add a section. The Keen homepage will connect you to the Keen "app" if you prefer – or you can just use the webpage itself.

Why should I use this?

When I first saw Keen and started to explore, I assumed it was basically Google's take on Pinterest. This is not that. Keen is more like Pinterest with Google's... smarts.

"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," wrote CJ Adams, Co-founder of Keen. "The more you save to a keen and organize it, the better the recommendations become."

So really, if you're not a big fan of advertisement recommendations, of Google learning all their is to know about you, of your interests being used to allow Google to get as good a picture of your life as possible, this might not be the app for you. If you quit Facebook because you weren't comfortable with how much Facebook used your personal information to attempt to sell you products via Facebook ads, this probably isn't the app for you.

If, however, you've been looking for a way to gather media in a social networking environment that's relatively easy to use and is super simple to sign up for, Keen is here, now.