Home In Challenge To Google, Pinterest Launches Guided Search

In Challenge To Google, Pinterest Launches Guided Search

Pinterest confirmed our suspicions that the visual social network is ready to take on Google when it comes to search. 

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

At an event at Pinterest headquarters Thursday evening, CEO Ben Silbermann announced Guided Search, a new visual way to explore Pinterest’s more than 30 billion pins—links or images chosen by users and assigned by them to topical collections.

Unlike most search engines, where you must choose a precisely constructed string of keywords for what you want to find, Guided Search offers suggestions as you go, based on the associations Pinterest has learned to make between all the objects in its database.

It’s Terrific If You’re Not Specific

For example, if you type “burgers” into search, Pinterest will start helping you find the specifics, whether it be “garden,” “veggie,” “paleo,” or “lentil.” The service updates the pinned image it displays as you go.The idea is to make Pinterest’s search as minimally dependent on text as possible—just like Pinterest’s site.

Google does automatically offer suggestions of words as you type. But even then, if you don’t pick a popular search, you may never see the right words. With this new feature, Pinterest isn’t aping Google’s search strategies. Rather, it’s hoping to leapfrog the search giant. While Google is great at finding answers for you based on the preciseness of your query, Pinterest helps you find answers you didn’t know you were looking for.

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

Pinterest's Guided Search offers a challenge to Google.

Guided Search is also arguably an easier mobile experience, with an interface that’s designed around tapping and swiping rather than typing.

Silbermann said that Guided Search will be available immediately on all supported desktops, tablets, and phones. 

Pinterest currently hosts 750 million boards curated by users and brands, Silbermann revealed—a number that’s increased 50 percent in the past six months. Ultimately, it’s their work selecting and organizing images that makes Pinterest such a valuable discovery tool.

Seen in that light, Guided Search is simply a tool to surface the Pinterest that users have already created.

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