In June of 2016, Pinterest first released its Lens search tool for its social media platform. Lens is essentially a photo search tool: users can either take a photo or use and existing one to find similar photos and similar photo tags (called “pins” on Pinterest). After the initial release nine months ago, the social media platform released a beta version to selected users last month, and now seems prepared to release to all Android and iOS users.
There are a number of practical uses for this photo search tool. Pinterest is mainly a means for users to showcase goods they have made or purchased, or are selling. Using the Lens search tool, users could see something they like and search all of Pinterest for similar items. This is especially helpful when users are searching for items when they are not sure of the exact name.
Pinterest is one of a number of technology based companies that are working on using machine learning for image-based searching. Google
Images has been working on a reverse image search to allow users to find similar images, and Facebook has also been working on facial recognition and other photo search technologies.
The interesting thing about these photo search features is that they should only improve in speed and accuracy over time. The artificial intelligence that drives this technology becomes more accurate the more information it processes and the more users that use it. It is for that reason that, although the search is still technically in beta form, it will soon become available to all users in the United States: Pinterest is seeking more data in order to fine tune the artificial intelligence.
The Lens search engine is an exciting example of how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be applied to help customers and marketers alike. Marketers can leverage reverse image searching to drive more traffic to their site and users can take advantage of the technology to answer questions and find what they are looking for.