Pinterest’s New “Questions” Feature Might Be The Key To Visual Search

Pinterest is testing an unnamed Q&A feature, the visual search company confirmed to ReadWrite.

See also: Pinterest Is Changing The Way We Blog

The feature came to light after developer Tom Waddington blogged about noticing a blank “Questions” tab on his Pinterest account for Cut Out & Keep, a craft community he helped found in 2007. A quick scroll through the code indicated the feature was almost ready to be rolled out. When I reached out to Pinterest, a spokesperson confirmed that it wasn’t a coincidence. 

“We’re currently testing the ability to ask and answer questions in a more structured way on Pins, with a small group of Pinners,” the spokesperson said in an email.

With meteoric growth and billions of pins, Pinterest has nailed down horizontal expansion. Over the past year, its focus has instead moved to verticals—improving the quality of information in each Pinterest category as opposed to the number of categories, which is already quite expansive. 

One way Pinterest is improving the quality of its information is with Rich Pins, which are images about specific topics that are tagged with relevant metadata. For example, Recipe Pins, a type of Rich Pin, automatically come with recipes attached because Pinterest can uniquely recognize the link type as a recipe.

See also: In Challenge To Google, Pinterest Launches Guided Search

Most recently, Pinterest unveiled Guided Search, a search function that establishes the company’s most bold experiment yet into visual search. Guided Search works a bit like an autocomplete function, suggesting related keywords when a user types in just one thing. For instance, if you type “burgers,” Pinterest might suggest “turkey” or “vegan.”

Guided Search indicates a desire on Pinterest’s part to help you search for answers you didn’t know you wanted yet. The unnamed Q&A feature could take this a step further. 

Pinners already ask questions on Pinterest—even though there isn’t a designated space to do so. Instead, people query in the comments on a specific pin. As pins are repeatedly repinned onto many users boards, the same questions sometimes get asked over and over again.

See also: Why Pinterest Is The Google Competitor You Weren’t Expecting

Right now, the unnamed Q&A feature is a blank page, so we don’t really know what it’ll look like yet. But if it ends up being a list of frequently asked questions about a pinner’s images, it might answer questions browsers didn’t know they had yet and steer the conversation toward answers they didn’t yet know they wanted.

As CEO Ben Silbermann said when revealing Guided Search:

“In the future, search will be a discovery tool. Pinterest at its heart is about discovering things you didn’t even know were there.”

A Pinterest Q&A feature might be part of his campaign to accomplish just that.

Photo by Hannah Born

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