Search engines have always been great for answering questions that have one simple answer (“Who played Rey in The Force Awakens?”). But when you’re looking for something with more than one possible answer (“what should we make for dinner?”), they aren’t nearly as helpful.
That’s what Pinterest’s idea search is all about: helping you find the right ideas for you. Just type in “kid party ideas” and find your way to the perfect theme, invite, favors, decorations and cake. Every month, people do more than 2 billion searches on Pinterest to find ideas that match their own unique tastes and circumstances.
Building idea search is a whole new technological challenge, and to make it work, we’ve had to come up with new ways to build our search tools. Here’s just a few of the things we’ve been building that make Pinterest’s idea search so different.
The most insightful recommendation tool ever built
We’re building the world’s catalog of ideas, and over 100 million people around the world have already saved 75 billion ideas here. So unlike regular search engines, which are powered by robots, Pinterest is powered by people and the ideas they hand select.
With so many millions of overlapping tastes and interests to draw on, Pinterest has the best “people who love X, also love Y” ideas you’ll find anywhere.
Guides that point to the best ideas people have found
Two years ago, we launched search guides, which help you figure out where to take your search next. Search guides are powered by all the other searches people have tried, which can be really helpful for those times when you don’t know the exact name of what you’re looking for.
Search with pictures, not words
Last November, we introduced our crazy-fun visual search tool, which lets you zoom in on any part of a Pin’s image to search and explore the products, colors or patterns you see there. So if you find a living room Pin with a couch you want to make your own, now you can search within the image to find visually similar Pins at different price points.
People are loving the new visual search tool. There are already 130 million visual searches on Pinterest every month, with furniture, home decor and style ideas being the most popular things people are searching for—here’s a sampling of Pins with most visual searches.
Local results, delivered fast
Thanks to all the improvements we’ve been making to local search results and how fast things work behind the scenes, today people around the world are 3 times more likely to see local ideas in search results and related Pins than they were just a year ago. And those search results now come up twice as fast, so now everyone can instantly discover the ideas they’re most interested in.
We’ve also been experimenting with exciting new ways to make idea search even more useful and fun to play with—keep your eyes peeled for more idea search announcements soon!
--Naveen Gavini, Engineering manager, currently saving recipe ideas to his Cook board