With all due respect to Google, its social media efforts till date (apart from Google+) have been nothing to write about. Google Wave was a disaster and Google Buzz made a limited impact. The online search giant witnessed a turnaround in its social media fortunes with the launch of Google+ and it now wants to step up the ante in the social media segment. To that effect, Google last week launched Schemer, an activities recommendation engine with Google+ integration.
Google defines Schemer as a service for sharing and discovering things to do.
“A scheme is any activity that can be done in the world, whether it’s ordering a favorite dish at a restaurant or snorkeling in the Caribbean with sharks.”
The idea is to help users find new things to do, share “schemes” with friends, and “make the most of your day. If this rings any bells about Facebook and Foursquare events, rest assured that you aren’t the only one who feels that way.
What is Schemer?
To put it simple words, Schemer is a tool for helping people discover, schedule and share things to do in the offline world. It will serve as a repository for recommendations from people, businesses and celebrities about where to go and what to do in nearby cities. In a classical sense, Schemer is an activity recommendation and monitoring system, it allows users to select activities they’re interested in, save them, and let friends know they’re interested in doing them.
And that’s not all, it will track completed schemes, record them in a list of accomplishments, and the best part – Schemer will recommend new schemes tailored to the user’s interests. Google has partnered with a number of high profile companies for Schemer including entertainment website IGN, Rolling Stone, National Geographic and Time Out.
As with most Google offerings, Schemer has started off as an invite-only service but I’m sure it’s a matter of time before it’s opened for public use.
Schemer vs. Foursquare
Though its early days yet, several people believe Schemer is Google’s effort to go after Foursquare, especially after the latter is being perceived as a major threat in wake of its Gowalla acquisition. To be honest, I can’t correlate to those claims, at least for now. IMO, comparing an activity recommendation engine (Schemer) vs. a full-fledged location-based service (Foursquare + Gowalla) doesn’t make any sense.
While the concept behind Schemer sounds fascinating, it isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. I’ve been a Hunch user since last two years and I can’t help but notice the similarities with Schemer. At least, the end objective is remarkably similar – build customized recommendations for users based on their individual tastes.
Of course, it’s still early days and it would be interesting to see how Schemer shapes up over the coming months.
One thing we know for sure is that Schemer is Google’s attempt to further juice up the Google+ ecosystem. The online search giant already has several bits and pieces of the puzzle – Google Maps, Google Places, Google Offers and Google Search, which offer good synergy to a tool such as Schemer.
All in all, Google Schemer looks to be an exciting prospect. What do you think? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.