Pinterest just added new tools to its futuristic ‘Lens’ feature — here’s how they work

  • Pinterest is adding new tools to its Lens feature, a visual search engine built into Pinterest.
  • “Lens your Look” lets you take pictures of items in your closet and get ideas for how to wear them.
  • “Pincodes” work a lot like QR codes and link back to boards on Pinterest.

Pinterest on Tuesday is adding new features to its futuristic Lens tool. 

Lens is getting two major updates that are geared specifically toward shopping and fashion: a feature called “Lens your Look,” and a new tool called “Pincodes.”

Lens your Look works a lot like a virtual personal stylist. You’ll be able to snap a photo of an item in your closet using the Lens tool inside the app, then Pinterest will show you ideas for how to wear it. Pinterest says it’s trained Lens on 3,000 categories, so Lens should be able to differentiate between things like different washes of denim. 

Here’s a GIF showing how it works:

Pinterest’s other new tool is called Pincodes, and it will sound familiar for anyone who has ever used a QR code. 

Pincodes are colourful sets of dots that are scannable using Pinterest Lens. If you see a Pincode in the real world, you can scan it to access specific boards on Pinterest. Any business account on Pinterest can make a custom Pincode, and Pinterest is partnering with companies like Nordstrom and Real Simple magazine to add Pincodes that unlock recipe or shopping boards.

At Nordstrom, for example, shoppers will be able to scan a Pincode to see a board of gift ideas under $US100. Here’s the feature in action:

Pinterest is also adding a few more updates to its app, like a more responsive visual search feature that lets you zoom in on an item in any photo to have similar items pop up, along with more than 5 million new shoppable products added to the app through a partnership with ShopStyle. Users can also now use the visual search feature on the Firefox web browser.

While the updates aren’t a complete overhaul to the app, the new tools are a major update to Pinterest’s very cool Lens feature. And while they’re mostly aimed at those who use Pinterest for fashion, it turns out that’s a significant chunk of its users. Pinterest says there are more than 16 billion fashion pins out of 100 billion total pins on its site, so being able to find inspiration with one tap on the camera or a quick zoom on a photo will be make using Pinterest a lot easier.