Visual Discovery on Pinterest Is Now Easier With These Three New Features

The social network introduced Lens, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann and co-founder and chief product officer Evan Sharp introduced three visual discovery products at the social network’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday: Lens, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas.

Lens, which is rolling out in beta on Pinterest’s iOS and Android applications, allows users to incorporate their devices’ cameras into their searches by tapping the camera icon in the Pinterest app and taking a photo of something, after which they will see recommendations for similar objects or “ways to bring the idea, recipe or style to life.”

Pinterest said Lens also delivers search results that display the subject in finished projects, offering as an example room-décor ideas with similar clocks when a photo of a clock is searched for.

Sharp added in a blog post:

Just point Lens at a pair of shoes, then tap to see related styles or even ideas for what else to wear them with. Or try it on a table to find similar designs, and even other furniture from the same era. You can also use Lens with food. Just point it at broccoli or a pomegranate to see what recipes come up. Patterns and colors can also lead you in fun, interesting or even just plain weird new directions.

For now, Lens works best for finding home-décor ideas, things to wear and food to eat. As more and more people give it a try and we continue making improvements to our technology, results will get even better, and the range of objects Lens recognizes will get increasingly wider.

And Dmitry Kislyuk, engineering manager of Pinterest’s visual search team, added in a blog post of his own:

Lens builds on the advancements we’ve made in computer vision and machine learning over the last year and goes beyond visual similarity. Lens tries to understand the objects you’re looking at and how they could be useful to you. For example, if you see strawberries on sale at the grocery store, just point Lens at them, take a picture and get creative recipe ideas (like chocolate strawberry waffle balls … on a stick!?), not just strawberry images. If you point Lens at an awesome pair of sneakers you find, Lens won’t just find visually similar sneakers, but will return outfit ideas with the same sneaker style. You can even point Lens at the night sky to find ideas related to constellations, galaxies and UFOs.

As its name suggests, Shop the Look is a new shopping feature that allows users to browse and buy items they see in fashion and home Pins.

Tapping the blue circle on a product will bring up recommendations for similar items that are available for purchase via Pinterest or brands’ sites, and Buyable Pins also include ideas for what to do with those products.

Pinterest said it is working with partners including Curalate, Olapic, Project September, Refinery29 and ShopStyle to enable users to shop from brands and retailers including CB2, Macy’s, Target, Neiman Marcus and Wayfair.

Pinterest said in an email to Social Pro Daily that its tests of the feature have shown that users engage with Shop the Look Pins three times to four times more than they do with Pins without the feature, adding that those Pins are also saved five times more and spur double to triple the visits to brands’ websites.

Finally, Instant Ideas enables users who see a concept they like in a Pin to tap the circle in the bottom-right corner for similar ideas.

Pinterest said in an email to Social Pro Daily that its technology can recognize more than 1 billion objects, adding that it has seen a doubling to tripling of engagement with the real-time recommendations from Instant Ideas while testing the feature.

Sharp wrote:

Not only can you find ideas using objects you see out in the world, but starting today, you can do the same thing when you’re on Pinterest with Instant Ideas. When you notice an idea that looks interesting, just tap the circle that appears on each Pin to instantly unlock related ideas. Circle a clawfoot bathtub to see similar tub ideas, or an asparagus dish for more recipes.

The new ideas appear right inline, so it’s like you’re instantly reshaping your feed around whatever catches your eye, all without losing your spot. Behind the scenes, your feed will get even more personalized, delivering you the very best ideas that people are loving on Pinterest, all in real-time.

President Tim Kendall said in a Pinterest for Business blog post:

People come to Pinterest looking for ideas for everyday life (what to eat, what to wear), big life events (planning a honeymoon, running a marathon) and everything in between. And inspiration can strike at any time. Someone might come here looking for recipes, and then stumble upon kitchen ideas. And suddenly they’ve found a new backsplash or a wall color they want to try. That’s the magic of Pinterest: Everything’s visual, so it’s easy for people to spot the ideas they love.

As they explore what ideas are out there, they go from open-minded discovery to collecting different options to consider, all the way through to purchasing whatever option they love most. And there are lots of opportunities for businesses to connect with people along the way.

With these new visual discovery tools, now there are even more ways for people to find products they love—including things they didn’t even know about before. No need to type in a search or even know what the product is called to find it—people can just let their eyes and tastes guide them. As people have more and more ways to discover ideas, it’s even easier for them to find the ideas they want to see from business like yours.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the three new visual discovery tools introduced by Pinterest Wednesday?

PinterestVisualDiscoveryFeatures from SocialTimes on Vimeo. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.