If you run a social network built on the concept of visual discovery, image-based search is a practical feature to offer. With this in mind, Pinterest Lens was introduced on Wednesday; which, once available, will turn user’s iOS and Android cameras into virtual search inputs.
Pinterest Lens is essentially a redux of the now-forgotten Google Goggles—much-hyped when first released, but now not even offered on the App Store (and dormant on Google Play for several years). Pinterest users can access their camera to focus on objects IRL, then see related Pins appear within the app. For example, a picture of a bowl of soup could bring up accompanying menu items to eat alongside it, or recipes for soup; a snapshot of a dress may suggest shoes to wear with the dress or other matching accessories.
The timing for a boost to their existing visual search product is fitting; just last week, Pinterest unveiled their version of paid search advertising in the form of keyword & shopping-based campaigns. Currently, the option is only available for a limited number of advertisers working through third-party platform Kenshoo; however, the expectation is that this will be opened up to more businesses over 2017.
Pinterest Lens is currently in beta, and will be rolling out in the US over the coming weeks on both iOS and Android devices, within the existing Pinterest app.