Pinterest brings its visually guided search to the web

While it’s become more refined over the years, searching for images online is still a relatively painful process. But social sharing platform Pinterest has gamely tackled the problem, introducing a new search designed to help users narrow down their search based on visual cues. After announcing the “Guided Search” system in April, Pinterest has ported it to the web as well. Revealed in a blog post on Wednesday, the new search will roll out to English-speaking users within the next few weeks, with other languages to follow.

Guided Search allows users to narrow down their search terms by describing aspects of a particular item. For example, when searching for “cake,” users will get a crop of narrower terms, identified by the way users have already tagged pins, to further refine that search — anything from “chocolate” to “wedding” to “recipe.”  The web version of search operates in a similar way, bringing up a list of scrollable terms at the top of the page for users to click.

Check out how it works in the video below:

Pinterest notes in the blog that the change brings the search bar “front and center for speedier finds,” which is an asset to the company. While it’s likely that Pinterest will always remain a place where users explore and gather inspiration through browsing, the emphasis on search allows the platform to show off the levels of data that it has gathered over the years. As the company scales — a priority given its recent $200 million Series F round and the hiring of two Apple alums to focus on expansion and design — it’s likely that the refined search system it is currently crafting will be a key to its sustainability and growth.