Pinterest adds to mobile experience with contextual menus; no API just yet

Pinterest threw a party to talk up engineering work at its new San Francisco headquarters Wednesday, and it didn’t announce the long expected API. Most components are set in place, said Jon Jenkins, Pinterest’s head of engineering, but the company wants to make sure key partners will be pleased with the results.

What’s more, the company doesn’t want to backpedal on an API that isn’t just right. Jenkins said he’s seen companies do that and then regret not fixing little things. It’s a sensible perspective for a company that’s taken on users in the millions in the past few years and is aiming for international adoption. Pinterest had more than 48 million monthly unique visitors, according to a February report.

As announced yesterday, Pinterest is taking advantage of touch screens by rolling out to users the ability to pin things after pressing down and holding on items they find on Pinterest on mobile devices. Android support is coming in the next few days.

Pinterest Jon Jenkins Contextual Menu

And it will keep building on experiences from tablets, smartphones and perhaps other kinds of mobile devices, Jenkins said. That might mean tapping GPS and accelerometer capabilities inside of a smartphone, for example, he said.

For the API, analytics on how content is used on Pinterest is an important area of focus. That way content providers can get value out of it, and perhaps pinners will get more of the content they, well, pin.

Last week the company introduced a way to see recommendations on the main site and in emails based on what users have already pinned. And since Jenkins came on, the company decided to rewrite the website in Python to make it more conducive to having multiple developers update different portions at the same time without them stepping on each other’s toes. It’s also introduced details to go along with actual pinned things — movies, products and recipes.

The company has been trying to boost its engineering profile. It launched an engineering blog in June and opened up about the architecture of its interest graph a few weeks ago. The engineering team of less than 70 comprises nearly half the company’s workforce, which is now at around 140 people.