Pinterest’s expanded visual search tools help you find things you can’t name

Pinterest visual search
Pinterest’s visual search tools are getting bigger. On Tuesday, November 14, the company launched five new features for Pinterest Lens and Visual Search that bring a range of new tools for visual discovery. With the update, Pinterest gains a QR-code-esque Pincodes, a style-focused Lens Your Look, zoom-enabled Visual Search, a Firefox Visual Search extension, and 5 million new shopable pins via an expanded partnership with ShopStyle.

The first update starts with the time-tested concept of QR codes and gives the idea some Pinterest flair. The new Pincodes allow brands and publishers to create their own unique code that, when scanned inside the Pinterest app, leads to a Pinterest Board. The first samples Pinterest is sharing, which start with Nordstrom, Real Simple, Kia, the Home Depot, and Kraft, show graphics that are more colorful and customized than the typical QR code. Any business account can create a new code for a board, Pinterest says.

While Lens can already recognize many fashion items to search for similar Pins, a new feature called Lens Your Look mixes a text search with a photo, which Pinterest says is designed to make it easier to find outfit ideas by starting with something you already own. If you search for a fashion-related Pin, such as “autumn outfit ideas,” tapping on the camera icon within that search will mix that existing search term with whatever clothing item you photograph. A slider option at the bottom of the screen allows users to choose from a few different types of clothing before snapping the picture.

A new Visual Search shortcut will help users who are searching for anything from fashion to food. (While Lens uses the camera to start a search using computer vision, Visual Search starts instead with an existing Pin.) Now, zooming in on a specific object inside an existing pin will automatically get that search running to find other Pins with a similar object in them. The update mixes Visual Search, now two years old, with the relatively new ability to zoom inside of a Pin.

Pinners using the Firefox extension will also now have access to the Visual Search tools outside of Pinterest with an update to the extension. The feature previously launched in a Chrome extension and allows users to search by clicking on a photo on the web.

The final update will make it easier for users to find shopable fashion Pins. Expanding on an earlier partnership, Pinterest is releasing ShopStyle API, code that allows the group’s 14,000 influencers to add shopping links to their fashion posts instantly. While the API is rolling out in the next few weeks, five million new products are listed on Pinterest as part of today’s announcement.

The new features start rolling out today with iOS and Android updates (the Lens Your Look is limited to the English version of the app).

Pinterest now has 300 million Visual Searches every month, increasing the number of users using that tool by 73 percent every month with a 150-percent increase in engagement year over year. For Lens, which launched in beta in February, the platform now has four times the number of searchable categories at around 3,000.

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