Pinterest 'Place Pins' Put Travelers On The Map

Pinterest is aiming to corner the trip planning market.

At a Wednesday evening announcement at Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco, CEO Ben Silbermann announced "place pins," which allow users to add Foursquare data to new or previously pinned images in order to tie them to a location. They’re the latest type of "rich pin" Pinterest has released.

“There are 750 million travel pins on Pinterest,” said Silbermann. “How could we pick one more thing people would really enjoy? Planning trips.”

Expanding Vertically

Rich pins automatically include details specific to the pin’s category. Before announcing place pins, Pinterest had already introduced rich pins for products, recipes, movies and articles. When a user pins a photo that Pinterest believes fits into one of these categories, it automatically adds relevant metadata. 

The company had earlier hinted at its plan to expand into more types of rich pins when I spoke to Jon Jenkins, the company's head of engineering, this fall. Jenkins said that in order to beat out a wave of Pinterest clones, Pinterest needs to expand in scope as well as in variety. 

“Ultimately, every pin has to become a rich pin,” he said. “The key is to figure out the particular data for every type of rich pin. For songs, that might mean listing the artist. For recipes, that means listing the ingredients.”

According to Silbermann’s announcement, for travel that means adding location details to a pin with Foursquare data for pictures, or with Mapbox for maps. To implement place pins, press and hold on the pin, add a place, and save. The location data will appear directly on the map on your board. 

A Premeditated Decision

Pinterest made it clear that it had plans to expand into travel after a lawsuit early this October. The company filed a trademark infringement suit against PinTrips, a Pinterest clone built specifically for flight search.

Within the lawsuit, Pinterest revealed details previously unknown to the public about just how popular the company is for travel planning. According to the legal complaint, “Pinterest users have posted more than 660 million PINS in Pinterest’s ‘Travel’ category to date. Many people use Pinterest as a travel-planning tool.”

Since many flagrant copies of Pinterest are still out there (Dudepins and PinCat, anyone?), it may soon be possible to determine which rich pin category Pinterest is considering implementing next by following the trail of lawsuits. 

“People are always saying that a new site is ‘The Pinterest of X,’ but ‘Pinterest is the Pinterest of X,’” said Jenkins. “We’re planning to get all the verticals.”

With reporting by Selena Larson