Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Google’s new feed is the anti-Facebook



Google today launched a new update to its Android and iOS app which includes feed. It uses artificial intelligence to find out what you are interested in, combining data from services like Search, Gmail, YouTube etc. It will then show relevant articles and videos in a vertical list. If you use any social network, this concept will not surprise you. But Google’s feed isn’t actually that social. It’s completely built around you.

For me, Facebook’s main problem (besides fake news) is that its newsfeed is not really relevant most of the time. One of the reasons is its non-chronological order, combined with its never-ending stream of content (although it does start repeating posts if you’re crazy enough to try). But friends are the biggest problem. As Google explains in its blog post, you don’t like everything your friends like, but Facebook shows a ton of suggested posts and pages based on their activity.

Other platforms have the same problems, but to a lesser extent. Facebook’s Instagram has had a non-chronological feed since 2016, but it won’t suggest anything else when you run out of new posts and the order doesn’t change when you refresh. Twitter still mostly is chronological, and lists — one of its most underrated features if you ask me — are a great way to separate friends and interests, for example.



With feed, Google built what could be seen as the anti-Facebook and that doesn’t sound all that bad to me. Would you rather spend your time looking at things your friends are interested in or things you are interested in? Google’s feed also might combat the filter bubble by showing multiple sources.
But possibly the best thing: you can read about your My Little Pony fascination without the fear of sharing that with people who respect your perfect social media life (no offense, by the way).

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