Tuesday 13 May, 2014
Visual social media site Pinterest is now rolling out a new feature for iOS and Android devices to help make searches easier and more interesting.
It’s called guided search and it’s different from a search engine in several ways. The results it brings you are ‘guides,’ which are made up of categories of related places and things. You can then search within the guides to refine your search.
For example, if you search for ‘guitars,’ it might bring you ‘rock and roll,’ ‘drums,’ or ‘motorcycles.’ These are all things related to ‘guitars’ that might be slightly different than what you were planning to search for.
What You’re Not Looking for
This is what makes guided search unique. Rather than just giving you exactly what you’re looking for, it also allows you to stumble across something else. You could potentially discover something new.
Pinterest team member Naveen Gavini says of the feature, “Guided search is focused on discovery rather than finding. The serendipitous experience of finding things you didn’t know you were looking for is what makes it so special.”
This is in keeping with the original concept behind Pinterest – discovery. It helps you explore what’s out there rather than just find stuff you were looking for.
Refining Your Guided Search
As you look at guides, you can refine your search results by adding or removing terms. You can do this without leaving the search page and your results. This makes the process of discovery more efficient and more fun.
In fact, you can use guided search if you’re not sure what you’re even looking for in the first place. You can enter whatever terms come to mind and it will bring you more ideas to help you decide what you were looking for.
Better Searching on Pinterest
The search function has always been one of the weak points of Pinterest. Part of the reason for the new feature is to make searching better and more effective. There are now about 30 billion pins. It’s like a massive virtual garage packed full of stuff. You know that good stuff is in there somewhere, but you need a way to sift through it all. Guided search gives you a great way to do it.
Some pundits have said that guided search is Pinterest giving Google a run for its money. While it may steal away some Google users sometimes, I don’t think this is the intention at all. Guided search is a great example of social search, which is a new way to search the web. It’s not better, but different from search engines, where you’re looking for more specific information. In the near future, we’re likely to see many more types of social search offered.