Even if you don’t use Pinterest, you better keep reading, because the site just did something that might just make you create your first account.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the social sharing site, Pinterest lets you browse and bookmark just about anything you see online. It’s called “pinning.” Those bookmarks are public, so anyone following you can see what you’re pinning. You can group them into categories like “Dream homes,” “Love these shoes,” “Want these cars,” or “Must cook this.” Sounds pretty basic, right?
Pinterest grew in popularity as a way to show off your own sense of style, but it really took off as a way to find ideas for new home decor, outfits, recipes and much more. I never pin anything, but I often browse Pinterest for meals, DIY-projects for my apartment and clothes ideas.
Here’s a pro tip with the holidays coming up: Follow your significant other on Pinterest and you’ll have all the gift ideas you’ll ever need.
But there’s the rub: A lot of times the photos on Pinterest don’t come with labels of all the brands you see. Maybe your spouse pinned a pair of shoes she really likes, but you have no way of finding out what kind of shoes they are, where they came from or how much they cost. This is often the case when it comes to home decor. There’s a lamp in the background that you MUST have, but you have no idea where to get it.
Pinterest has already taken steps to become your one-stop online shopping center. When you use the Pinterest app on your tablet or smartphone, you’ll come across “buyable pins,” which are pinned products you can purchase without ever leaving the app.
And now Pinterest has developed a way to search a search a pinned image to find the product online. Here’s how it works: Just tap the image search button in the corner of each pinned image. (You can only do this in the mobile Pinterest app; you can’t do it online yet.) Then drag the box around the shoe or lamp or necklace or whatever. You’ll see similar-looking images from Pinterest appear below. They might not be the exact product, but they might be. You could even find a buyable pin.
We’ll have to do a lot of testing before we know exactly how well this image search feature works. It looks similar to Google’s insanely useful “search by image” feature. If you’ve never tried that, it will change your life. But Pinterest developed this tool alongside the Berkeley Vision and Learning Center, so it could be pretty good out of the gates. Even if it isn’t, the program uses machine learning to constantly get better at its job.