It might not attract as much attention as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, but Pinterest is a social network that has been chugging along at its own speed, building up a dedicated community, with its concept of sharing “pins” that contain interesting information. And unlike some other social networks, those at Pinterest have managed to keep innovating without fiddling too much with the core strength of the app, which is a clean graphics oriented interface that works briskly.


The latest innovation brought by the app is something it calls Lens. Still in beta, it has today been made available to iOS and Android users in the US. And well, it is fascinating. The Lens is a sort of “search by image” concept. You open the app, go to search, and instead of typing in your search query, you choose the camera icon next to the search textbox. This results in a circle appearing in the middle of your display, showing what the camera sees. Select the object you want to search for – food, a book, clothes, whatever – and tap the circle once. Pinterest will then try to identify the object you have snapped and also serve up pins and topics related to it that you can search on the social network. Sort of like Amazon’s app, which lets you take a picture of an object and then get its price on the “Everything Store.”


We got access to the new version of Pinterest thanks to a friend, and well, we must confess that it is fascinating and judging by our very limited experience of a few hours works just fine in India. It made a glorious attempt of trying to pull pins related to the books on my shelf (quotes, creative life signs, and pins with pictures of books were suggested), and while it was unable to identify the Apple AirPods, it certainly managed to suggest some interesting pins (including earrings, spoons and studs!).


No, we have no idea when it is going to be available outside the US (Pinterest claims it is not a hundred percent accurate and is still work in progress), but we just hope it is fast because it is kind of cool, all said and done. Hey, FB and Twitter, stop aping Snapchat and try and get us something like this? Imagine taking a picture of something and getting all FB and Twitter posts about it?


Cool, right? So is Pinterest Lens. You can get it by downloading the latest version of the app if you are in the US.

Download on iTunes App Store | Google Play

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Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.