It’s the Google+ Circles of life, if you will. When Google+ launched in June of this year, one of the features that it touted as an advantage over Facebook was Circles, which would allow users to organize their contacts. Barely a month later, startup Katango launched an iPhone app that would allow Facebook users to automatically organize their friends into manageable groups. However, Facebook quickly rolled out their Smart Lists feature, which made the Katango app redundant. So now, as Google+ users continue to complain about the hassle of using Circles, Google has purchased Katango to provide a solution.
In a Google+ post, Product VP Bradley Horowitz confirmed the company’s purchase of Katango. “In the earliest days of Google+, I alluded to the fact that we had big plans for Circles,” Horowitz wrote. “Are you ready for some magic in your Circles? These folks are magicians!”
Katango confirmed the purchase by redirecting their website visitors to this message:
“Katango was founded a little over a year ago to develop social algorithms that improve people’s online social interaction. We’re excited to join the Google+ team and carry on fulfilling that mission. Google+ is seeing tremendous momentum, so it’s a perfect time to join and make Circles smarter for millions of people.”
Katango’s social sorting algorithm works by analyzing profile information, interactions with contacts, and interactions between contacts. Based on the information it gathers, Katango then groups related contacts together. This sort of automatic grouping could be just the tonic for those folks who find Google+ Circles to cumbersome to use—users like Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, who once compared using Circles to planning a wedding seating chart.
Katango marks the 24th acquisition that Google has made this year. The amount of the deal remains undisclosed, but if Katango really can take the tedium out of using Google+ Circles, then they just may earn that “magician” title.