Pinterest Launches Exploration-Focused Guided Search And Reveals Custom Categories For Mobile

Today Pinterest announced two new mobile products: Guided Search to lead you on chains of explorations, and a third one that will be unveiled in a few minutes, and Custom Categories for making it easier to browse your way to cool stuff through a dynamic interface. Guided Search will be available on iOS and Android in an app that was just pushed. Custom Categories will slowly roll out across devices in the next few months.

The press event at Pinterest’s SF headquarters also saw CEO Ben Silbermann give a momentum update, saying Pinterest users had pinned 30 billion total pins, and that number is up 50% in the last 6 months. He also revealed that 90% of pins now include related pins, and the algorithm that picks these suggestions is now better at showing products that you might also be interested but don’t look the same or are another version of the same product.

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Pinterest team member Naveen Gavini explained “Guided search is focused on discovery rather than finding. The serendipitous experience of finding things you didn’t know you were looking for is what makes it so special.”

To see exactly how Guided Search looks in action, check out this video from Pinterest:

Pinterest explains Guided Search saying “Now when you search for something (road trips, running, summer BBQ), descriptive guides will help you sift through all the good ideas from other Pinners. Scroll through the guides and tap any that look interesting to steer your search in the right direction.”

When users start a search, they can choose between pins, boards, and pinners. After they enter their initial search, Pinterest will show a slideable row of additional terms that can be tapped to refine a search. For example, a search of “Plants” will reveal suggestions like “for shade” “potted” and “keep mosquitos away”. Even a relatively specific query like “hairstyles for medium length hair” will offer ways to go deeper still, such as “bangs”.

custom categoriesCustom Categories creates a dynamic feed of very specific topics, such as Bob Dylan. Silbermann described how the Pinterest team picked the traditional categories available from the homescreen  somewhat haphazardly and there was a lot of debate about what to offer next. Custom Categories allow you to “Choose Your Own Adventure” (the theme of the press event), finding categories that match your taste no matter how obscure.

You can browse pins about the category, and slide through a slick row of suggestions of related categories that looks similar to the additional search suggestions from Guided Search.

While these updates aren’t revolutionary, they could make Pinterest both more accessible to new users who don’t know what to search for, and hardcore who are always looking for ways to spend more time combing the service for inspiration and delight. Digital nesting just got easier.