Pinterest is adding new features to its Place Pins that not only make it easier for people to plan trips, but may also open new revenue streams for the company. In a blog post today, Pinterest said that location information—including a map preview, address, phone number, and opening hours—will be automatically added to every Place Pin. This means that “pinners” can call a venue or find directions on Google Maps or Apple Maps by clicking a button on Pinterest.
The new Place Pins will start rolling out on Pinterest’s iOS apps this week, and to Android and its website sometime in the future.
The company, which has raised a total of $1.32 billion according to CrunchBase, claims that over 7 billion Place Pins have been made by users since the feature launched in November 2013. Place Pins, which are created by adding a map to a board, turn the bookmarking site into a travel planning tool and were originally developed because Pinterest said many people used the site to figure out vacation itineraries or bookmark interesting places near them.
Automatically adding location information and making it easy to make phone calls or get directions is a good way to keep people on Pinterest who would otherwise switch to a service like Google Maps in order to find and save venue information (I wish Instagram would add something similar, since I discover a lot of interesting shops, cafes, and exhibitions through other people’s photos, but often forget to bookmark them on my Google Maps account).
It may also increase Pinterest’s monetization options. The service has already launched Buyable Pins and Promoted Pins, which are targeted to e-commerce merchants and online marketers. If it decides to pursue partnerships with stores, restaurants, and other venues, Pinterest’s improved Place Pins may help it make an online-to-offline play and turn it into a rival to location discovery services like Foursquare (whose API currently powers Place Pins) and Yelp, especially for users who already spend a lot of time on Pinterest or prefer its visually oriented layout.