When you were younger, what you wore to school was a big deal.

If you were like a lot of kids, vast planning went into those daily garments in order to hit some magical formula of high tops and Hammer pants (or whatever fantastical options were available in your generation).

Then one day, Billy shows up to class, and Billy is wearing something eerily similar to your favorite high-tops-Hammer-pants combo. And it kind of irks you.

This is not unlike what's happening with Google and Pinterest. Except there's money  and market share at stake.

Right now, they're both engaged in a weird cycle of imitating one another's features and trying to be the king of all the image searches in the wooooorld.

Actually, it's Google that's kinda looking like the Single White Female right now in all this (if you're not old enough to get that reference, just know it equals bad).

On November 30, Google announced a new way to save photos from its image search called "Collections" - and it's eerily like Pinterest in many ways:

·       You have to be logged into your Google account to access it.

·       When you perform a Google Image search, you can save pictures you like to your collection.

·       You can create lots of different collections to organize all your favorite images.

·       You can filter images by guided recommendations, so if you search for "kittens" but only want to see "kittens with guns" you can do that.

Except it's not really like Pinterest.

Pinterest has community.

Pinterest has 100 million active users per month, who go there to connect and share.

Pinterest has a an ecommerce platform where people can immediately buy things from their pins.

So... sorry, Google. No amount of copying Pinterest is going to take Pinterest's majority female users away from their wedding extravaganza Pinterest boards (even though I know that's what you were thinking when you said Collections is perfect for things like showing hairstyles to your stylist.) 

But let's not be so hard on Google. Because Pinterest definitely wants to reach for the stars with a search engine that's as good as Google's (take Pinterest's "interests" feature and guided search as an example).

But let's be real and just state there is no comparison between the two. Each of these companies are great at what they do, but they serve completely different purposes.

I search Google Images for things on the fly - it's great for one-time experiences such as finding a pic of the latest cat meme. But then I'm like, "Thanks for the good time, Google, I'm out."

On Pinterest, you have an experience. You browse collections, you share them with your friends, you can--dare I say--document your hopes and dreams... and you can even buy some of the stuff you're pinning to make those dreams come true.

I dread to think Google might make Collections some "amazing" new feature of the dying Google+ to recreate the Pinterest experience, but sadly, it's likely. Especially since "Collections" is the name of another now core functionality of Google+ that collects topics.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In this case, it feels more like wannabes trying to cram into a mold that doesn't fit.

So be yourself, Google. And Pinterest, you be yourself, too. You're each like special little snowflakes, with a unique offering and beauty.

Published on: Dec 10, 2015
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