Pinterest widget opens live gateway into popular app

Image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest

With over 50-percent of Pinterest users now accessing the site from smartphones, it’s no wonder the company is focusing more and more on the mobile side of the product. And thanks to an exclusive deal with Telefonica, the new Pinterest Widget will be pre-installed on millions of Android devices across Latin America and Europe.

The widget not only gives new users a quick introduction on the values of Pinterest’s collection, sharing, and organizational tools, but enables customers without an account to run the Widget straight from their phone’s home screen, providing access to the site’s most popular pins without needing to sign-up for an account.

I received a full demo of the widget inside Pinterest’s San Francisco headquarters, and the ease and functionality of the new Android experience was top notch. Most impressive considering the project was built by a three-man team.

And while the widget is making its debut in Latin America and Europe (Pinterest has seen 130-percent growth in these markets the past year), according to product manager Michael Yamartino, Android users will see the widget also roll out to other countries (including the U.S.) in the next few months.

Michael Yamartino
Michael Yamartino, product manager

“One of the advantages Android has is the ability to have actual live widgets running on the home screen,” says Yamartino. “These are things you can interact with, they update in the background, and can display new information. That’s what we built. Essentially it’s the core of the Pinterest app living on your home screen.”

The structure of the widget is similar to the app in that it gives you access to notifications, along with one-tap access to search.

“People search a lot on mobile in order to find recipes, then when they go shopping, they want access to these feeds that we have,” says Yamartino. “When you get the widget, you get the app as well. The two are very tightly linked. The widget is like a live gateway into the app.”

An app that is currently one of the highest rated in Google Play, with 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Says Yamartino: “We’re giving users the ability to find what they’re looking for, say salt and butter cookies. Then you can find something similar like salt and caramel, or maybe you want to go to something more general like cupcakes. So it lets you start at one thing that’s interesting to you, and if that’s not exactly right, we’ll connect you to this whole other world that’s related to it. That’s why I think the widget will be really great for folks. It’s updating in the background, so you just page over, and if you see something that’s interesting to you, it will launch you on this whole discovery process as you find new things. And with the widget, this is the first time we’ve let people explore Pinterest without an account, giving them a little bit of the experience up front to see what the app is all about.

“Telefonica has about 300 million users, so this is a huge opportunity for growth. It will be interesting to see in the coming months what people across all of these countries will start pinning.”