Pinterest continues to try to make it easier for people to use its visual search engine.
Now Pinterest users can zoom in on pins when using its mobile app. Pinterest has also made the option to search individual objects within a pin more obvious and opened up its Chrome browser extension to people who don’t have a Pinterest account, the company announced on Wednesday.
Pinterest’s pinch-to-zoom is fairly standard for anyone who’s ever looked at a photo on their phone, though it also works on GIFs. But the feature is particularly important to Pinterest because people often post photos with multiple objects in them, and Pinterest wants people to spend time looking at photos with multiple objects in them. Why? Because all of that helps Pinterest’s visual search development. Photos with multiple objects in them give Pinterest’s computer vision technology more objects to index and more relationships among objects to recognize. That added context can aid Pinterest in identifying an object and, in turn, do a better job of finding similar or related objects across all the other pins posted to its service.
For now, zooming in on a pin doesn’t do anything beyond making it easier to see what’s in an image. But eventually Pinterest plans to test automatically applying its visual search engine to whatever object or objects are being zoomed in on. For example, a person could zoom in on a desk lamp in a photo and automatically be presented with pins of similar desk lamps that might even be for sale through Pinterest. That would also help show off Pinterest’s capabilities to newer users.
For now, to visually search on specific objects in an image, people will still need to tap the visual search icon atop a photo. Pinterest simplified the icon to show a viewfinder and moved it from the top right corner to the bottom right corner of the pin. Pinterest said that, in testing, the new icon has increased the number of people using visual search by “nearly 70 percent.”
Pinterest is also extending its visual search engine beyond its apps and site. After rolling out a Chrome browser extension earlier this year to enable visual search on any image across the web, Pinterest is now removing the requirement that people be logged in to Pinterest to use the extension’s visual search feature.