Pinterest is continuing its quest to help users make purchases based on items they discover on the platform.
At an event at the company’s San Francisco headquarters today, Pinterest co-founder and chief executive officer Ben Silbermann introduced three updates that make it easier for users to discover images without having to use words to search.
Shop the Look is a feature that becomes available today that detects multiple items in an image and finds similar-looking, shoppable Pins. It also reverses that functionality by showing, based on a product Pin, other ways that Pinners have styled that item.
This builds on the previous ability to pinpoint different items inside a singular Pin, and doesn’t require the Pinner to manually tag items.
Not all images are currently enabled with this functionality, but those that are contain blue dots to indicate which items in the image can be searched. Pinterest worked with visual marketing platform Curalate, an influencer network including ShopStyle, and an in-house curation team to begin the Shop the Look feature, which begins with fashion and home décor categories.
Shop the Look is available today for U.S. users online and on Apple and Android devices. CB2, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Target, Wayfair and others are among the first to begin offering shoppable looks.
The most-experimental update of the day is something Pinterest is calling Lens, which is in beta mode and will be coming to U.S. iPhone and Android users in the coming weeks. It lets them use the camera in the Pinterest app to find related images on Pinterest. A user can, for example, point Lens at a pair of shoes to see similar items, or at a pattern or color. Pinterest focused on developing Lens for fashion, home décor and food, but the technology will improve as more people use it.
“It’s crazy to think about translating a rich and colorful image into words online, and we’re starting to solve that with Lens,” said Pinterest co-founder and head of product Evan Sharp. “We have the tech to see what you see — it can search the internet the way your eyes search.”
Finally, Pinterest is adding a feature calling Instant Ideas, which is indicated by a circle on an image; it serves images related to that Pin.
“Search engines rely on words, but that’s not the best way to search always,” said Sharp. “That’s the magic of visual discovery —you can let your eyes do the searching. You shouldn’t have to put your thoughts into words to find great ideas.”
Pinterest just reached the 150 million monthly active users milestone. As 75 percent of the content on the platform is from a business’ web site, it has been working toward its capabilities as a shopping platform. After introducing Buyable Pins to its app more than a year ago, there are more than 10 million products buyable on Pinterest, including more than 25,000 merchants such as Boomingdale’s, Wayfair, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Nordstrom.