Google, Pinterest Have New Ways to Search Images

19 April, 2017

Google and Pinterest each have new ways to search using images. Both companies believe that people who search images may want more than just a picture of the exact item searched.

Many people might seek more general information related to what is in a photo.

People want to see similar images. If you find a piece of clothing you like in images, for example, you may want to see more of the same style.

Or, maybe you are searching images of prepared food. You may want the recipes connected to the pictured dish. If you are searching for a travel setting, maybe you would like to see images of similar places.

Google and Pinterest now have ways to seek such additional information. These new features might inspire you with ideas, as well as provide direct answers.

New image search features

Google has two new features for its image search, both of which help you find related items. These new features from Google, Similar Items and Style Ideas, are related to fashion and available on mobile devices.

Pinterest also has new features that help you use images to find information. Pinterest Lens lets you use your phone's camera and photos on your phone to search for information. Pinterest also added an image search feature to its Chrome extension to help you get information.

Google Similar Items

Google Image Search recently added a new way to search images. Now, when you search an image, you can search for "Similar Items." This is designed to help users find items of a similar style, which may help inspire fashion ideas.

Google Similar Items
Google Similar Items

The Similar Items feature works when you do a Google Image Search using an Android device, and on the Google website for mobile. You can use it on iPhone and iPad by going to in the Safari app, but it will not work in the Google app on those devices.

By the end of 2017 Google will be adding Similar Items to Image Search on other platforms.

This feature was announced last week and, for now, is very limited in the kinds of items you can search for.

Similar Items will work with searches for handbags, sunglasses, and shoes. More items will be added soon, including other fashion items as well as home and garden items.

Google Style Ideas

Google also has a new feature called "Style Ideas." When you do a Google Image Search for a fashion item, Style Ideas can suggest accessories to go with that item. Search results will provide photos that show how it looks in the real world.

For example, if you are searching for a pair of shoes, Style Ideas can show you dresses and handbags to go with those shoes. You also may see images of people wearing the shoes.

Like Similar Items, Style Ideas works when you do a Google Image Search using an Android device, and on the Google website for mobile. You can see Style Ideas on iPhone and iPad by going to in the Safari app, but not in the Google app on those devices.

Pinterest Lens

The Pinterest app for iPhone and Android has been updated with a new feature called Pinterest Lens. This lets you search for pins using the camera on your phone or tablet. Pinterest Lens works worldwide with phones that are set to the English language.

To start using Pinterest Lens, open the Pinterest app, then tap the magnifying glass icon. Tap the red camera icon to take a photo of the object you want to search.

The app will try to identify the object and show you related pins. You can also choose keywords to guide the app towards pins you want to see.

You can use Pinterest Lens with food to get ideas for recipes,

with colors to get ideas for decorating, and with places to get ideas for travel.

Pinterest Lens Travel
Pinterest Lens Travel

Pinterest Lens also lets you use photos already on your phone. Tap the photo icon in the top right corner of the screen to use photos you have already taken.

Pinterest Lens is in beta, meaning it is still being tested. It does not recognize every item, but should improve the more people use it.

Pinterest related image search

Pinterest has added a new feature to its extension on Chrome to help you search images to find related pins. If you use Chrome and have the Pinterest extension, you will see a search icon that will let you find related pins. You will also see a Save button that lets you pin a photo to Pinterest.

When you click the search icon you will see a list of keywords and pins that are related to the items in the photo.

But the results do not take you to the Pinterest website. Instead, they open a new window with related pins and keywords. If you click on a pin you will be taken to the Pinterest site

I'm Caty Weaver.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Catherine Kelly Weaver was the editor.

Do you search using images? Do you like having more ways to search using images? Which of these new ways to search using images would be the most useful for you?

Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

item - n. an individual thing

recipe - n. a set of instructions for making food

feature - n. an interesting or important part, quality, ability, etc.

inspire - v. to give (someone) an idea about what to do or create

extension - n. a software program that adds features to an Internet browser

accessory - n. something added to something else to make it more useful, attractive, or effective

update - v. to change (something) by including the most recent information

pin - n. an image on Pinterest

keyword - n. a word that is used to find information in a piece of writing, in a computer document, or on the Internet

beta - n. a version of a product (such as a computer program) that is almost finished and that is used for testing