Pinterest launched a tool to help people quicklysift through the roughly 30 billion 'Pins' on the service's online bulletin boards tofind what they like.In a move similar to one made last year by Facebook, Pinterest is tapping into itsrich trove of user-posted content to tackle questions that traditional search enginessuch as Google or Bing don't handle well.Pinterest users can turn to the new Guided Search feature for answers to questionssuch as how to make a yummy breakfast, where to go on vacation or how tocustomize a motor scooter."Search engines are great for answering specific questions -- the weather in SanFrancisco or the capital of Peru -- but Pinterest can help with the questions that havemore than one right answer," said Pinterest discovery team head Hui Xu."With so many possibilities, you might not know the best one till you see it."Pinterest introduced Guided Search with the help of more than 100 "Pinners" at aparty at its San Francisco headquarters.- Tailored for exploring -There are more than 750 million online bulletin boards with a combined total ofabout 30 billion Pins hand-picked by people sharing images on myriad interestsfrom travel to food to sports and more, according to Pinterest."There are a lot of Pins and there is not much time," a Pinterest team member saidat the launch event."We are working hard to make sure it's simple to find what you are looking for" aswell as allowing for serendipitous discovery.Guided Search was billed as being tailored for exploring, "whether you know exactlywhat you want, or you’re just starting to look around."
The tool is available on smartphones and tablets that are increasingly the preferredoptions for accessing the Internet. It begins with keyword searches that triggersuggestions.Pinterest gave the example of searching on the word "running" and being guided torefine hunts by selecting categories such as shoes, marathons, trails or even musicplaylists.About this time last year, California-based Facebook launched its Graph Search tooldesigned to tap into networks of friends and publicly shared posts at the socialnetwork for answers to naturally worded questions such "What is a good film tocheck out?"- 'Promoted Pins' -Pinterest last month said it will soon start pinning ads to its popular online bulletinboards in the form of "promoted Pins."Pinterest began testing promoted Pins late last year and is "encouraged" by what ithas so far seen.Facebook and Twitter both bring in money from ads in the form of posts"promoted" to prominent positions in streams of updates at the social networks.Pinterest late last year raised $225 million in new capital that it planned to use toexpand to 10 more countries.The funding round valued the company at $3.8 billion, according to a Pintereststatement to AFP.Co-founder and chief executive Ben Silbermann said the new funding will helpPinterest's expansion.Pinterest has become one of the Internet's hottest young websites, particularlyamong women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they personally curatewith pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, fashion ortravel.The company has not disclosed the number of users, although estimates fromdigital analytics firm comScore put the figure at around 60 million.