Pinterest is rolling out an expanded search engine on its mobile apps for iOS and Android designed to help you browse your interests more effectively than you can on a traditional search engine. “Guided search,” as Pinterest is calling the feature, returns a list of Pinterest tiles for your searches that are popular among users. Search “hairstyles,” for example, and you’ll see a list of trending items with that tag across the network. You can also add additional keywords to every query to focus your search. From “chair” you could add “living room” and “accent” to see popular accent chairs.
As 75% of Pinterest usage is on mobile devices, the company is focusing on mobile development. Guided Search is a mobile only product, released within updated iOS and Android apps in the Apple and Google Play stores last night. A desktop version will come later, but no timetable was given.
Pinterest has grown rapidly in the four years since its launch and seems to be accelerating. Silbermann said last night that it has more than 750 million Pin boards and more than 30 billion individual Pins, figures that have grown 50% in the last six months.
The mobile focus was a strong thread throughout the creation of Guided Search, said software engineer Naveen Gavini. Pinterest aimed to minimize typing by improving autocomplete and giving each suggestion a compelling visual representation. They made the search bar more prominent and added a new visual parasol of guides directly below it.
“By quickly allowing you to remove and add terms,” Gavini said, “it allows you to change your search where ever you are.”
While these updates aren’t revolutionary, they could make Pinterest both more accessible to new users who don’t know what to search for, and hardcore who are always looking for ways to spend more time combing the service for inspiration and delight.
That’s important for a company like Pinterest, which has only just begun exploring paid advertising in its products. The company has raised $562 million, and is valued at 3.8 billion.