Pinterest wants you to think of it as a visual search engine

Lens and Search tools are now the focus on mobile.


Pinterest might have started out as a social network, but it's quickly moving into search engine territory. This week, the site announced that it's moving the "Search" and "Lens" features to a more prominent space in its mobile apps.

Lens is a visual search tool that rolled out to US users earlier this year. It's functionally the equivalent of a reverse image search. Users can take a photograph of something, say a desk, with Lens, and the smart search will return interesting pins with related design ideas and similar furniture. Pinterest is constantly updating Lens's features and its accuracy.

More and more people are using Pinterest's search features on mobile, so it makes sense that the company would want to move them front and center. The company says that 85 percent of all searches, both text-based and visual with Lens, occur on a mobile device. That's a significant chunk of traffic.

The company also made some tweaks to the home feed. You should start seeing fewer duplicate pins in your feed and your recommendations will update in real-time, taking into account your most recent pins and searches. These added features are available in the iOS app today and should be ready for Android soon.