Have you ever loved an article of clothing worn by a stranger on the street, or maybe a piece of furniture in an acquaintance’s home, and wondered where you could get it for yourself? Well, Pinterest is looking to make that process a lot easier for you.
At an event in San Francisco, the company unveiled its new visual search shopping feature, which will help users find and buy the objects they see in their pins. The user can take a photo of a particular product or use one that is on Pinterest, and the app will bring up a list of similar-looking objects available for purchase.
It’s all a part of merging Pinterest and online shopping into an easier experience for users. Over half of the users of Pinterest go there with the specific intention to shop. That was the main motivation behind the introduction of buyable pins, which allow users to shop right there on Pinterest. The program started with just 200 available products, and now boasts sales from over 20,000 retailers since its launch.
The technology works by using automatic object detection, meaning it will automatically analyze each image uploaded and try to identify known objects. If an object is recognized, the app will highlight it, along with other searchable objects within the frame. This provides a simple interface for users to quickly find and learn about the products, eventually, Pinterest hopes, leading them to purchase the items they find appealing.
According to the announcement, most of the features highlighted will be live at some point today — though for now, the automatic object detection through visual search is only available on iOS. The full camera search tool is expected to be rolled out later this year.