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Getting to Know Pinterest’s Guided Search

I like Pinterest just fine, but one of my biggest complaints to date has been the near-uselessness of the search function. Searching a term included pins across all categories, and with Pinterest categories as diverse as science and nature and womens’ fashion, all you could do was scroll endlessly through the myriad masses of results and try not to pull your hair out in frustration.

Back in January Pinterest took a small step towards better-tailored pins with its introduction of the “Explore Interests” page. But it wasn’t really a search tool, per se. What Pinterest did was organize pins by topic into a personalized page for each user based on that user’s browsing activity. It was a fun way to “discover” new pins aligned to your unique interests, but it still didn’t help the sometimes crazy-making task of finding something specific.

That is, until now.

Recently Pinterest began rolling out the new Guided Search function, and it’s a big leap forward in helping you explore topics. When you browse pins with Guided Search, a scrollable band of descriptive guides appears at the top of the page. These suggestions are based on pin descriptions and offer a different way to sort through the best ideas from other pinners.

Source: the Pinterest Blog []
Source: the Pinterest Blog []
From Pinterest’s blog:

“Say you’re looking for plants to green up your apartment, guides help you get more specific—indoors, shade, succulents—so you can hone in on the ones that suit your space.

Or when it’s time for your next haircut, search by specific styles—for redheads, curly hair, layers—to find your next look.”

Guided Search is positioned as a tool that “can help with the questions that have more than one right answer.” Evan Sharp, co-founder of Pinterest, echoed this sentiment in an interview with Sharp said Pinterest wanted “[…] to do something different from traditional search – because I think our product is very different from most search engines.”

He continued: “[…] a lot of the time, people aren’t sure what they’re looking for. Or aren’t quite sure how to articulate their question or problem. [Guided Search] makes it easier to start searching and say, ‘I’m thinking about shoes or trainers’ and from there to make it more specific over time as you better understand what’s interesting to you.”

Importantly for Pinterest, Guided Search offers an opportunity to experiment with Promoted Pins and Rich Pins in the search results. Stay tuned to see how that pans out.

So far Guided Search is only available on mobile apps, but Pinterest will soon roll it out to the desktop version.

Guided Search isn’t the be-all and end-all — I, personally, would love to be able to one day drill down searches in specific categories — but it’s a great start. Have you tried it yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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