Visual Discovery close up of shirt and bracelet

When it comes to looking for something you want to try—a new pasta dish, a new pair of shoes, a new table for your dining room—you really need to see it first. Humans are visual creatures. We use our eyes to decide if something looks good, or if it matches our style.

That’s the magic of Pinterest. Because everything’s visual, it’s easy to recognize an idea that appeals to your unique point of view. The second it catches your eye, you think, “That’s it!”

Pinterest is built for open-minded discovery. Just like when you’re out window-shopping. You see something that intrigues you, and you go inside. That’s how finding ideas on Pinterest should feel. And that’s exactly what we’re launching today.


Point, tap and discover ideas with Pinterest LensBETA

Sometimes you spot something out in the world that looks interesting, but when you try to search for it online later, words fail you. You have this rich, colorful picture in your mind, but you can’t translate it into the words you need to find it.

At Pinterest, we’ve developed new experimental technology that, for the first time ever, is capable of seeing the world the way you do. Now there’s a way to discover ideas without having to find the right words to describe them first.

It’s called Lens (currently in beta), and it lets you use the camera in your Pinterest app to discover ideas inspired by objects you see out in the real world.

Lens on a table


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.

For now, Lens works best for finding home decor ideas, things to wear and food to eat. As more and more people give it a try, and we continue making improvements to our technology, results will get even better, and the range of objects Lens recognizes will get increasingly wider.

Eventually anything you see when you’re out and about can kick off a search for ideas to try. Just pull out your phone and see what Lens turns up.


See Instant Ideas inspired by Pins you love

Not only can you find ideas using objects you see out in the world, but starting today, you can do the same thing when you’re on Pinterest with Instant Ideas. When you notice an idea that looks interesting, just tap the circle that appears on each Pin to instantly unlock related ideas. Circle a clawfoot bathtub to see similar tub ideas, or an asparagus dish for more recipes.

Ideas on Pinterest

The new ideas appear right inline, so it’s like you’re instantly reshaping your feed around whatever catches your eye, all without losing your spot. Behind the scenes, your feed will get even more personalized, delivering you the very best ideas that people are loving on Pinterest, all in real time.


Bring ideas to life with Shop the Look

At the end of 2015, we introduced a way to pinpoint different items inside a Pin. So if you see a streetstyle Pin, you can pinpoint whatever they’re wearing—hat, shirt, pants, shoes—and discover related ideas from there.

Now with Shop the Look, you can track down and even buy products you see inside fashion and home decor Pins. Just tap the circle on each item to find the styles you’re looking for. You can even see what other people have paired it with for more ideas on how to wear it.

When you’re ready to buy, you can check out right on Pinterest, or get things directly from your favorite brands. CB2, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Target, Wayfair and other brands will all be offering shoppable looks, thanks to Pinterest’s new partnerships with Curalate, Olapic, Project September, Refinery29 and ShopStyle.

Shop the look

Each of these new visual discovery tools takes that ah-ha moment you get when you come across a great idea, and turns it into more ideas—whether you’re on Pinterest or out exploring the world around you.

So now you have three new visual ways to find answers to everyday questions like, What am I going to have for dinner? What am I going to wear? What kind of table do I want my family to eat our meals around? When we add up all these small things, together they make our whole lives just a little bit better. I really do believe that. And I can’t wait to find out what ideas these new tools help you discover.

Instant Ideas and Shop the Look are available now on iPhone, Android and the web. Lens will be rolling out in the US over the coming weeks—look for it on your iPhone or Android app soon!

- Evan Sharp, co-founder and head of product at Pinterest, is currently discovering architectural ideas