Top visual search engines

Do you know what visual search technology is and why its use is a necessity for retailers today?

Visual search is an artificial intelligence technology that allows users to search the web using a picture rather than keywords.

As we are living in the era of smartphones and androids, there will be 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide by 2021. With the rapid increase in the mobile industry, there is an equal rise in mobile application technologies. Mobile apps have brought innovations and modified the way of working, shopping, and communicating.

From the rise of mobile industry, visual search technology got evolved.

People are now more interested to do a visual search instead of a text search and from that point, google entered the visual search market in 2010 by launching Google goggles followed by Pinterest. Later in 2017, Google launched its visual search technology as Google lens.

Usually, we get confused with visual search and image search. Although both visual and image search is based around images, the crucial difference lies in the fact people use words to conduct an image search, whereas, with visual search, a user uses an image to conduct the search.

Now lets get into detailed about Google lens and its working.

You can use Google lens to identify real-world objects with your camera and find information about anything maybe any plant, animal, restaurant, product.

Google lens compares the object in your mobile image to other images and ranks those images based on their similarity and relevancy to the object image you searched for.

Google Lens enables you to point your phone at something, such as a decorative product, and then ask Google Assistant what the object you’re pointing at is. You’ll not only be told the answer, but you’ll get suggestions based on the object, like where you can buy that object.

visual research image by sonika sharma

Google Lens compares objects in your image to other images and ranks those images on the basis of their similarity and relevance to the objects in the original image. Lens also uses its understanding of the objects in your image to find other relevant results from the web.

Now lets look at another visual search engine application that was launched in January 2010 by Pinterest.

Pinterest lens search is quite similar to google lens.

Pinterest Lens can be accessed only inside Pinterest. Available on both Android and iPhone apps, you can also use it on the web for existing Pinterest pictures.

The Google Lens is accessible in four ways: inside Google Photos app, Google Assistant, Google Camera, and through a standalone app.

When you do a Pinterest visual search, you capture an image of an object and then allow Pinterest to search for matching images.

When you’re looking at a pinned photo, let’s say you notice something in there that you like. It may be the dress someone is wearing or an image of some beautiful dress in the magazine. You simply tap the search icon in the upper right-hand corner. Then you can drag and resize a frame around that part of the image. Pinterest will then search for it elsewhere. With any luck, you will discover the brand name of the item and where to buy it.

Pinterest reported having 400 million monthly active users worldwide. The leading countries in generating Pinterest traffic are the U.S, Germany, France, and U.K. While nearly one-third of those users are from the US, the number of users outside the US is growing rapidly, millions of users from European countries are using this app for shopping.

With the launch of Google lens and Pinterest lens there is unprecedented change in modern retail, and e-commerce is becoming more important than ever.

Pinterest lens is the central visual search technology. It is a great platform for retailers in fashion and textile industry with obvious monetization possibilities.

Shoppers are turning to Pinterest as a key shopping destination. Huge numbers of people now do their shopping on Pinterest. More than two-thirds of Pinterest’s base is women with a motive of shopping. That doesn’t mean marketers should forget about men. Men still make up more than 20% of Pinterest’s ad audience.

Now question arises what are pins and how google view them.

Pins are images, videos or products you use on Pinterest with title and description on it. Google view these pins as websites and do search accordingly.

In other words the content on Pinterest is known as Pins, similar to as the contents on Blogs are called posts or blog-posts.

When you add a pin, you can add a title and description that says what the picture is about. It gives you the opportunity to integrate some keywords and potential search terms that might help your pin show up when users search on either Pinterest or Google search engines.

And collection of pins is called as board on your account.

Total number of pins on the web are 450 billion with 4 billion boards.

Search engine ranks for the pins with influential descriptions, so the users have to pay attention while putting keywords and description for pins.

Simply putting, proper Pinterest descriptions gives more context for your Boards and Pins. They give Pinterest users information as to what kind of content they’ll find Pinned to your Boards, or what your Pin is about!

So if you put an appropriate product description in your pin, it’s going to be referenced in search results and get ranked very highly.

Pinterest provides similar advertising features for pins as google provides for websites.

Advertising on Pinterest is reasonably affordable for small businesses. And the platform has some interesting ad features, including shoppable pins for e-commerce businesses and even video pins. You set your budget and choose the type of campaign you want to start.

Since 90 percent of Pinterest users access the platform on a mobile device, which means that your pins need to be easy to read and visually appealing on a smaller screen.

As shopping is a top priority for 48% of Pinterest users, marketing pins plays a great role.

With the great evolution of technologies we are well beyond the keyboard and mouse era, we have entered into the era of artificial intelligence.


Visual Search is a vital task for humans, 90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual.

Since people are always inclined towards visual things naturally, through this came the evolution of Visual search technology in digital marketing.

Smartphones get more addictive and useful with Google Lens and Pinterest Lens merging Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and real-world visual search.

With different smartphone manufacturers integrating Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and visual search technologies into their models as standard, it is clear that visual search is here to stay — and we are primed ready for it.

Visual search has become an influential marketing strategy. Even if you don’t sell online, visual search creates new opportunities to work with influencers in your industry. For example, you are an artist and you could promote your paintings or other art products posted within the images on your Pinterest account. 

Pinterest is very helpful in generating traffic for bloggers.

Regards Sonika Sharma

3 Responses

  1. Very enriching and informative post Sonika.
    I got a lot of information on how things are working and will look in the future.
    Keep up the good work.

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