Google is at it again – acquiring companies. Ripe after the acquisition of Zagat, a restaurant review portal, Google has turned its eyes towards Katango, a startup that automatically sorts your friends into different groups, with very little input required from the user.
Katango uses a set of patent-pending algorithms to sort your friends into different lists based on your interaction with your friends and a host of other data. The company, launched a year ago, has strong credentials behind it.
Katango currently works with your Facebook friends. Recently, it launched an iPhone application for the same. After the groups have been made, you can selectively choose what content to share with a particular group. This was a major setback that people faced on Facebook. Although Facebook allowed you to create lists, it was a herculean task and most users didn’t care much about it. Katango circles around the fact that these personalized groups are great for coordination of events, staying in touch with long-lost friends and family members and chatting with people who have similar interests. Katango reduces all the workload of creating groups.
All this makes great sense for Google. Google Plus revolves around putting your friends in various circles like friends, family member and also custom circles that you can create. But while Google Plus can give you suggestions whom to add in your circles, it doesn’t do this automatically for you. You still have to manually add people in circles. With Katango on board, Google can add this useful feature for all its Google Plus users.
When Katango initially launched, it was integrated with Facebook Connect, but recently Facebook also rolled out Smart Lists, which is essentially what Katango does. In addition, Facebook has made it easier to share content with select group of people. Due to this, Katango for Facebook might not make much sense. It would make a lot of sense for Katango to take the deal and join Google. For Google, on the other hand, developing the algorithm for effective circle suggestion might take time. So they figured, why not use the existing algorithm already developed by Katango?
While there is no confirmation from Google or Katango regarding the deal, it is highly likely that we will hear of an announcement soon. Google has been interested in Katango since July when it officially launched. Automatic circle suggestion will pit Google Plus against Facebook Smart Lists, adding another dimension in the already on-going war for social networking dominance.
Will this development boost the number of users using Google+? Only time will tell. What do you think?