Pinterest is really working to up its visual search options.
Last month, the platform announced their new Pinterest Lens tool, which enables users to search Pinterest for related items and ideas based on real world examples, captured on their phone.
Pinterest Lens is not available to all users as yet
Now, Pinterest is looking to extend that visual search capacity to the web more broadly, with a new browser extension that enables you to search for related Pins based on any image on any website.
As explained by Pinterest:
"To start doing visual searches around the web, install the Pinterest button, currently available only on Chrome, more browsers coming soon. (Already installed it? Great! It should update automatically. Now when you visit a website, you just hover over any image and select the magnifying tool to instantly discover visually similar ideas on Pinterest."
It's another way for Pinterest to expand its search capacity - and given that there are already two billion searches conducted on the platform every month, and Pinners come to the network with higher purchase intent than users on other platforms, the potential value-add for Pinterest users is significant.
In addition to being able to search an entire image (or even an entire website by right-clicking on the background), you can also narrow down your Pinterest search to specific items within any photo by re-sizing the selected area you want to search.
You can then go deeper into the specific categories noted (above the image-match result) by clicking on each and getting more related Pins.
As noted, visual search is a big focus for Pinterest, simplifying the search process to make it a more interactive and engaging process. Extending on this, Pinterest is also planning to extend their web search capacity in future to also:
- Bring real-time object detection to browser extensions to parallel the visual search experience in our app. This enables Pinners to simply tap on objects we identify and get results vs. manually identifying and pinpointing objects within images.
- Expand beyond visually similar search results to show you how to bring ideas to life, similar our approach with Lens's results. For example, if the input image is an avocado, we want to show you more than other avocados, including health benefits, recipes and how to grow them.
- Bring visual search to all our browser extensions. To start, we're rolling out visual search inside the Pinterest browser button for Chrome to Pinners globally today.
Virtually every social network is now working on visual recognition in some capacity - both Snapchat and Twitter are working on image-recognition triggered ads, and Facebook's making significant advances in image recognition and classification, which will be applied to both Facebook and Instagram. The benefits of that capacity will be huge, giving users a whole new, interactive way to search for content, while also providing marketers with a new set of data points for ad targeting and focus.
Pinterest, while not as big as these other platforms, is making visual discovery a prime focus, and they've already made huge advances despite having a comparatively smaller engineering and data team.
New tools like this will add another element to the Pin process - it may not see hundreds of millions of new users flood to Pinterest, but at the same time, they may not actually need that to remain effective. Given the purchase intent of their existing audience - that Pinterest's 150 million monthly active users (and growing) come to the platform with the intent to find products - the platform's well-placed to become a critical eCommerce hub, building on the back of a more niche audience focus.
It's worth considering how these additions might change the Pin process, and maybe make Pinterest a more relevant consideration for your business.