Pinterest today announced the launch of a new "Lens" visual search tool, which allows users to take a picture of a real-world object and find related products and images on the Pinterest website.
With Lens, for example, pointing the camera at an item of clothing, a piece of furniture, or a food product will cause the app to search for similar items in the Pinterest database.
Just point Lens at a pair of shoes, then tap to see related styles or even ideas for what else to wear them with. Or try it on a table to find similar designs, and even other furniture from the same era. You can also use Lens with food. Just point it at broccoli or a pomegranate to see what recipes come up. Patterns and colors can also lead you in fun, interesting or even just plain weird new directions.
The app uses machine learning to recognize items. According to Pinterest, Lens currently works best with home decor, clothing, and food, but the company plans to make continual improvements so the app can learn to recognize new items.
First introduced last year, Lens, which is built into the Pinterest app, is now in beta and is rolling out to iOS and Android users "over the coming weeks."
Pinterest is also introducing "Instant Ideas" and "Shop the Look," two new features available today. Instant Ideas is designed to let users quickly find related pins, while Shop the Look is aimed at letting users find and buy products in fashion and home decor pins.