Pinterest’s new shopping frontier: the real world

At an event this morning at its new San Francisco headquarters, Pinterest—which calls itself “the world’s catalog of ideas”—introduced a bunch of new features related to shopping, an activity that it started formalizing as part of its experience a year ago with “buyable pins.”

The service already has a visual search tool that can find pins featuring items similar to one in a photo. People use it 130 million times a month. In the coming months, it plans to roll out an update to its iOS app that will take the idea into the real world: aim your iPhone at something like a wristwatch or a piece of furniture, and the app will show pins featuring similar items. It’s reminiscent of existing tools such as Amazon’s Firefly, but Pinterest says this will be the first time such a service will be smart enough to come up with similar products, not just identical ones.

Other changes Pinterest announced at the event include the arrival of buyable pins in its web version; a sticky shopping bag that lets you bop between phone, tablet, and PC while buying; and the ability to peruse items related to a buyable pin.

Pinterest says it now has over 10 million products from more than 20,000 merchants.