Google+ Collections, the company’s effort at establishing its Google+ social network as more of a Pinterest competitor (since taking on Facebook didn’t go so well), has launched today in the iOS version of the Google+ app. The idea with this newer feature is to allow users to congregate around their shared interests, like video games or cooking, for example. With Collections, any user can become a curator of sorts, sharing their own thoughts, or photos, videos and links from around the web.
Collections somewhat overlap with Google+ Communities, which are more like modern-day forums or message boards. However, unlike Communities, which are run by organizers and can be public, semi-public or private, Collections can be built by any user who wants to establish themselves as a subject matter expert, or simply share their interest in a given topic.
The feature first debuted this May with support for Android and the web. To date, users have created Collections on activities like homebrewing or climbing, or have used them to organize and share photos like those of mountains, or images and articles about marine life, for example.
The feature offers an avenue for self-expression without concerns about over-sharing, notes Google, as they allow you to segment your different interests into these Collections that your friends on the service can either choose to follow or not.
In addition to rolling out the feature to Google+ on iOS, the company has also made a few tweaks based on user feedback. The ability to add taglines to the Collections, which was recently added to Android and the web, is also now available on iOS. The ability to search for Collections was also announced just last week on Android and the web, but isn’t yet live on the iOS app.
Google’s strategy around its social platform Google+ has changed in recent months, as the company tries to wean itself off Google+. It started by breaking out Google+ Photos into its own service (Google Photos), and it decoupled profiles from regular Google accounts. It’s also rolling back the controversial integration of Google+ accounts into YouTube.
At the time of its announcement earlier this summer, the company noted that the destination site would now more heavily focus on “becoming a place where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them.”
Google+ Collections is a key part of that new direction, but one that may hold niche appeal given that there are today plenty of other tools to establish your voice online, ranging from Pinterest boards to Instagram profiles and Facebook Pages or even Medium or Tumblr blogs, and much more. However, if Google isn’t prepared to end Google+ for good, focusing on interests instead of social connections may be one of the better ways to compete with the established networks.