Pinterest’s next move is search. CEO Ben Silbermann announced a new product, Guided Search, that he said is a major breakthrough for people exploring their interests online.
“One question that we’ve been asking ourselves all year, ‘How can we help you discover things that you care about?’” said Silbermann, at a press event Thursday night at Pinterest’s San Francisco headquarters.
Pulling from a rich data set of Pinner interests, Pinterest has built a product that gives users a curated version of search. Regular search is great — the most amazing invention, Silbermann said — but it’s best for answering specific questions.
If you are looking for information about hair cuts, for instance, regular search falls short. Guided Search, Pinterest believes, solves the problem by using social recommendations, and can help with results for specific styles — for redheads, curly hair, updos, etc.
When you start a search on the mobile app — Guided Search is mobile only for now, and designed to favor swiping and tapping over typing — Pinterest will serve you a descriptive guide to help you sift through “good ideas” from fellow Pinners.
Pinterest has a uniquely suited user base to fuel this visual search effort. Pinterest now has 750 million boards and 30 billion pins, totals that have grown 50% in the past six months, Silbermann said.
“We stepped back and decided let’s build a search engine that’s more about exploration,” Silbermann said, “that’s more about discovery, that’s more about teaching about your tastes and giving you options to explore than it is about giving you an ordered list of the best answer.”
Guided Search will be available today as an update to the Pinterest app in the Apple and Google Play stores.
Pinterest also announced improvements to its Related Pin product — Silbermann said that now 90% of pins have related content associated with them — and the introduction of Custom Categories, which will allow users to create their own topic-based sections.
Read more details on the Pinterest blog.
Here’s a video demo of Guided Search:
And our live coverage of the announcement event: