Introducing the future of visual discovery on Pinterest

By Dmitry Kislyuk | Pinterest engineering manager, Visual Search

Our mission at Pinterest is to help you discover and do things you love. Under the hood, we’re powering a visual discovery engine with 100B ideas saved by 150M people around the world. Today we’re introducing three new visual discovery products–Lens, Instant Ideas and Shop the Look–that turn any image into an entry point to finding more ideas.

Visual search at Pinterest

In 2014 we started investing heavily in computer vision and created a small team focused on reinventing the ways people find images. Less than a year later we launched visual search, a new way to search for ideas without text queries. For the first time, visual search gave people a way to get results even when they can’t find the right words to describe what they’re looking for. Last summer, visual search evolved as we introduced object detection, which finds all the objects in a Pin’s image in real-time and serves related results. Today, visual search has become one of our most-used features, with hundreds of millions of visual searches every month, and billions of objects detected. Now, we’re introducing three new products on top of our visual discovery infrastructure.

Pinterest Lens

Lens is a new way to discover ideas with your phone’s camera inspired by what you see in the world around you. Just take a photo of anything that interests you–a pair of shoes, seasonal produce, a chair you’d like to see in your home–and Lens will give you recommendations for similar objects or ways to bring the idea, recipe or style to life. If you’ve ever wanted an easy way to find a jacket like something you spot on the street, or get ideas for decorating your house with the same style as your designer friend with a single tap of button, Lens is for you.

Lens builds on the advancements we’ve made in computer vision and machine learning over the last year and goes beyond visual similarity. Lens tries to understand the objects you’re looking at and how they could be useful to you. For example, if you see strawberries on sale at the grocery store, just point Lens at them, take a picture and get creative recipe ideas (like chocolate strawberry waffle balls…on a stick!?), not just strawberry images. If you point Lens at an awesome pair of sneakers you find, Lens won’t just find visually similar sneakers, but will return outfit ideas with the same sneaker style. You can even point Lens at the night sky to find ideas related to constellations, galaxies and UFOs.

We’ll share an in-depth technical blog post on how we built Lens in the coming days. In the meantime, we’re busy rolling out Lens in BETA on iOS and Android. Ultimately, Lens will get better as more people use it. If you have feedback as you use Lens, please let us know!

Inspired by the world Lens has revealed, we’re also introducing new ways to find ideas on Pinterest in just a tap.

Shop the Look

Shop the Look is a new way to shop and buy products you see inside Pins. It combines our computer vision technology with human curation to recommend a variety of related products and styles you can buy on Pinterest or from a brand in just a tap. For Buyable Pins results, we’ll also show you ideas for bringing a look to life. For example, if you see a scarf you like, now you can see different ways to style it right on the Pin. We’ll share an in-depth technical blog post on how we engineered Shop the Look soon, and for now, you can check it out on iOS, Android and the web.

Instant Ideas

Building on the machine learning that powers 10B recommendations on Pinterest every day, today we’re launching Instant Ideas, a new way to transform your home feed with similar ideas in just a tap. So as you’re browsing through your home feed and find something interesting, now you can get more ideas like it by tapping the circle in the bottom right corner of any Pin. We then use these signals to personalize your home feed in real-time, making recommendations instantly more relevant to your tastes and interest as you scroll through your feed. Check Instant Ideas out on iOS, Android and web starting today.

With these new products, it’s now easier than ever to find ideas across Pinterest and from the world around you. We’re excited to see how people use these technologies. Look for technical deep dives on these products in the coming days!