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Making Circles Smarter: Google Acquires Katango to Improve Google+

Google just acquired Katango, a service that can automatically organize your friends on social networks into groups. Katango only launch its first product, a Facebook-focused iPhone application, this July. At the time, I already thought that Katango was really more of a feature than a product and that “I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody like Twitter, Google or Facebook would take an interest in buying the company.” Clearly, Google thought so too. Indeed, when I first talked to Katango’s VP of product Yee Lee, he pointed out that his company was already talking to the “big two” players in the social networking space.

At the time, I assumed this meant Twitter and Facebook, but Google was clearly also interested in that company’s product. After all, Katango makes grouping your friends automatic – a feature that would fit in perfectly with Google’s philosophy behind Google+.

The Katango team will join the Google+ team. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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Chances are, it won’t be too long before Google+ will offer some kind of automatic circle creation tool. In its current iteration, Katango, for example, discovers who you went to school with, who may be part of your soccer club or who your family members are and then creates groups for you. In my tests, this always worked extremely well.

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