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Pinterest launches Lens Your Look fashion search feature and visual scan codes

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Pinterest will begin to roll out a new series of features today, including Lens Your Look, which allows you to add a photo to any text query. With this feature, you can, for example, pair a photo of a favorite jacket with the search term “autumn fashion” to come up with new outfit ideas, or combine the photo of a popular celebrity with search term “date night” to locate pins with similar outfits.

Since launch, the app’s 200 million monthly active users users have amassed more than 100 billion pins, 16 billion of which are related to fashion.

Above: Lens the Look in action

Image Credit: Pinterest

Also announced today are QR codes to enable commerce, responsive visual search to quickly find pins, and the release of a Pinterest browser extension for Firefox.

Changes announced today come roughly two years since Pinterest began to offer visual search.

Since then, a progression of steps have been taken to power Pinterest visual discovery through a combination of computer vision and listening to cues users give through app activity like pinning images.

Other steps include the hiring of former Google engineering head Li Fan, the acqui-hire of several companies, and the launch of Pinterest Lens search earlier this year.

“Images are the main way we communicate with our pinners, and it’s also sort of the main way pinners communicate with us. Whether you’re shopping or paying or scrolling for something, all that info is teaching us the kinds of things you’re interested in, and we’re using that to help you find stuff that you really love,” Pinterest visual search product lead Jeff Harris told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

Also new to Pinterest are QR codes called pincodes. Pincodes can be scanned by opening the camera with the Pinterest app. Scanning a code can enable sharing of a website link, a conversational bot, a Pinterest board with holiday shopping ideas, and other online content.

“Most retailers, most of their customers are in the real world; they’re in your stores, they’re reading your magazines, so we think about pincodes as a way to just help brands connect the customers that they’ve already got with the content that they’re already making and just give a better customer experience. And as businesses move to be more and more dependent on online, it’s going to be really important to have these easy jumping points you can go from an offline experience and connect to the online experience,” Harris said.

By introducing scan codes to enable commerce, Pinterest joins platforms like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and users of more traditional QR codes like WeChat.

Early adopters who intend to use pincodes in stores or at promotional events include Nordstrom, Home Depot, Kraft Foods, and Kia.

Pinners can start scanning Pincodes today with their camera in the Pinterest app, and users with business accounts can create pincodes.

Also new today, Pinterest will bring more than five million new shoppable pins from thousands of brands to Shop the Look, a service that launched in February that gives a user the ability to shop for, say, shoes or a dress within pins or visual search results.

Shop the Look is curated by more than 14,000 fashion influencers. As part of the ShopStyle partnership, in the coming months, Pinterest will introduce an API to deliver analytics to influencers, like clickthrough rate for their recommendations and number of sales. Bloggers or content creators that use ShopStyle receive affiliate revenue based on the sales of Shop the Look products.

Before today, searching for visually similar pins required tapping a square white icon that appeared in the bottom left-hand corner of an image, but responsive visual search now carries out a visual search every time a user performs a pinch-to-zoom action with their fingers in the Pinterest app.

“What you do is just pinch to zoom on any object on any pin, and we’ll automatically do a visual search on what you’re looking at,” Harris said.

Responsive visual search will be available on the Pinterest iOS app today and for the Pinterest Android app in the coming weeks.

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