Pinterest today is adding a new feature to its Lens — its live camera search — that will help pick apart what’s in the image and make it easier to search specific parts of that image.
As you can see in the run-through above, what Pinterest calls Visual Guides based on object detection is another way that the company is trying to figure out what it is you are actually searching for when you point your camera at an object in the real world. Pinterest, at the end of the day, is trying to help you find a product and show you a bunch of other things related to that — but that also starts with the company figuring out what thing it is in that image that you are actually looking for a deeper dive.
Pinterest introduced Lens earlier this year as an attempt to continue expanding its tools for users to look at a product and immediately point them to an array of new ideas or products that might be closely or tangentially related. Much of Pinterest’s pitch revolves around helping its users discover new topics or products, like recipes or articles of clothing, that can then drive them to use Pinterest more and more. With more than 175 million users, Pinterest has worked to create a platform that has a discrete use case from Twitter, Facebook and Snap.
And that’s also the big pitch it gives for its marketing partners. Pinterest hopes to keep users’ attentions at all points of their buying experience. It starts with getting someone on the service and helping them discover a new topic, and then digging deeper into that topic. Pinterest keeps tabs on all that activity and helps its partners track those users throughout the buying cycle, eventually trying to point them to an end-product they may want to purchase. So instead of buying ads based on the hope for a conversion (in search, for example), brands and marketers can buy a full stack of ads that constitutes an entire potential customer’s lifetime.
To achieve that can be somewhat of a stiff technical problem as Pinterest looks more and more to remove any friction to pushing those users down deeper into its service. Instead of coming to the site directly, Pinterest is trying to integrate the experience deeper with reality, starting with the launch of Lenses. Pinterest is also adding a way to jump directly into Lens directly from the home screen with a force touch tap on the iPhone, much like other apps are trying to reduce that friction to getting into the core experience right away.
That’s going to require a lot of experimentation and tuning as Pinterest is basically trying to create a new kind of user behavior, and figuring out how to get a user’s full attention when they take a photo of a whole kitchen is one way to start. In addition to all this, and somewhat a sign of the company’s focus on those experiences, Pinterest’s head of discovery engineering Vanja Josifovski is being bumped up to the CTO role.
Pinterest is also adding the ability to read QR codes — one feature you might find in an app like WeChat. Once again, all these updates are the company trying to further invade your everyday experiences in the real world and potentially craft a new highway directly into the service. That helps keep new users coming back over and over, and by extension helps the company attract marketers that are looking for an alternative to Facebook or Snap. It still has to ensure that it can build a strong enough audience that it can be a mainstay advertising purchase next to Facebook or Google, and the company continues to release new products that seem like ways to try to convince them.