Target adding visual search tool from Pinterest to its app and website

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Pinterest has announced a partnership with Target to integrate its visual search technology known as Lens into Target’s apps, and later its desktop website. The deal, which represents the first time the company has integrated Lens into a retailer’s app, will allow Target shoppers to snap a photo of any product, and then find similar items available for sale at Target.

The company says that this feature will initially become available within Target’s registry, but will expand more fully to Target’s app and desktop website in the future.

As a result of this deal, Target is also increasing their ad buy significantly with Pinterest, in a related effort to drive more consumers shopping online to Target’s site.

Pinterest, which is now used by 200 million people worldwide, has heavily invested in its visual search technology in order to turn the smartphone camera into a search engine for products.

The idea is that, when a consumer sees something they like out in the real world, they can simply take a picture with Pinterest’s app then find out additional information, like where to buy the item, how much it costs, or other ideas – like how to style an article of clothing, for example.

The technology is meant to catch users at the moment of discovery, then push them into the buying cycle via Pinterest, instead of say, Google. (Google responded by rolling out its own visual search tools for top Pinterest categories, like recipes, fashion and more.)

Pinterest’s last round of funding – $150 million at a $12.3 billion valuation – was also devoted in part to investing further in the development of the visual search technology. Shortly after announcing its raise, the company rolled out a newly redesigned Lens with added abilities to do things like zoom in and tap to focus, as well as search from photos that had already been taken and saved to the Camera Roll.

In Target’s case, Lens will help connect online and mobile shoppers to Target products, even if the photo they snapped is not something found at Target itself.

As Target explains, the way this will work in its app is that the camera can be substituted for a keyword search.

Read the source article at TechCrunch.