Facebook is working on visual search for shopping on Instagram

The company is also bringing new shopping features to WhatsApp and Marketplace.


Facebook is working on visual search technology for Instagram as it doubles down on shopping features throughout its platform. Speaking in a live audio room on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said the company is in the early stages of building camera-based search tools.

The feature would be similar to ones offered by Snapchat and Pinterest, which have both invested heavily into visual search. Zuckerberg outlined two potential use cases for the technology on Instagram. When browsing Instagram, visual search could surface similar products available elsewhere in the app, or it could allow users to find products using their cameras or images from their camera roll.

“When you find something you'll be able to tap on it and find similar products that people across all of our shops are selling the moment that you see something that you like,” Zuckerberg said. “We think that visual search is going to be really helpful in making photos shoppable Instagram overall.”

Facebook Shops are coming to WhatsApp.

In addition to visual search for Instagram, Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook Shops will soon be arriving on Marketplace and WhatsApp. Facebook has already been integrating product catalogs into WhatsApp chats, but now businesses will be able to create storefronts for the chat app.

The company is also working on “Shops ads,” which would allow businesses to target ads based on “people’s individual shopping preferences.” Eventually, facebook could further personalize these ads with special offers or promotions, Zuckerberg said.