Lens lets users point their camera to an object, then the app will analyze it and present related ideas. Google also acquired a French image recognition company a year ago called Moodstocks, which develops machine-learning based image recognition technology for smartphones.
Lens, which launched in beta Wednesday, works just like Shazaam, the music identifying app that takes a snippet of a song and tell you the title and artist. Pinterest says it's powered by a combination of the company's computer vision tech and human curation, presumably to limit the chances of completely inappropriate items showing up and putting customers off the new tool.
Pinterest has 150 million users, who have pinned over 75 billion recipes, ideas and places on more than one billion boards.
The company generates more than 10 billion recommendations daily on the site.
You can now browse Pinterest via your smartphone camera.
To utilize that feature, simply tap the blue circle on a product and Pinterest will give you recommendations for similar items you can buy on the site or from a brand. Circle a clawfoot bathtub to see similar tub ideas, or an asparagus dish for more recipes.
By offering a visual search function, Pinterest is able to slightly separate itself from traditional search platforms like Google. And inspiration can strike at any time. That's the magic of Pinterest: Everything's visual, so it's easy for people to spot the ideas they love. And there are lots of opportunities for businesses to connect with people along the way.
"That's what visual discovery is all about - tools to find the ideas that are your taste and your style", Silbermann added. As people have more and more ways to discover ideas, it's even easier for them to find the ideas they want to see from business like yours.
Sharp said new visual search features like Lens were part of the company's renewed effort toward making searches more natural.