Katango: Bringing Google Plus’ circles to Facebook via iPhone

13th Jul 2011
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The coolest thing about Google + in comparison to Facebook is the “circles” feature.  You can easily arrange your contacts via drag-and-drop in different groups and you can decide what information to share with whom. Facebook is rather bad at this. While it is possible to arrange contacts in groups, it’s difficult and takes you much more time, as Facebook doesn’t actively encourage you to do it like Google +. On the other hand, most of us have our contacts on Facebook now, whereas Google + is still rather empty. So, the best thing would be if you could easily arrange your Facebook contacts in groups similar to the circles of Google +.

Katango

The Katango app, available for the iPhone, tries to solve this problem. After starting the app and entering your login-data for the world’s most popular social network, your contacts are automatically arranged in different groups. This worked quite well when we tested the app. Friends were sorted based on, for instance, similar educational backgrounds or common employers.So, you can name your groups as either “Friends from University” or “Co-workers”. Sounds great? Well, the awesomeness ends here. Unfortunately, it is not possible to send messages directly to your contacts via Facebook or post them on your Facebook-wall. Instead, contacts receive a message via email, which is branded by Katango. “What is this?” is how people reacted when they received that message. Another network on another website? Don’t we have enough? Our guess is that nobody would care.

The technology behind Katango is not bad at all. In fact, it is very precise in sorting the contacts. But if it wants to succeed, it needs to be integrated into Facebook properly. And Facebook, on the other hand, needs something like Katango to stand firm against the rising power of Google +. We smell potential for an acquisition here.

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