Google Turns Image Search Into Pinterest With New “Collections” Feature

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Turns Image Search Into Pinterest With Collections ‘new’ Feature.

Google said on Monday that users in the U.S. on both iOS and Android are now able to star and bookmark images that they come across in mobile search — and then easily find them again later.If you’ve done your fair search of Google image searches, whether it’s looking for silly cats, winter outfit pegs, or shirtless pictures of your current celebrity obsession, organizing and saving these pictures can sometimes be a pain. Google has now rolled out a new feature on its search engine that offers users an easy way to save to save images they find to collections they can reference at a later time.

The search giant suggests you could use the feature for saving things like hairstyle examples to show your stylist, or snowman ideas to have some winter fun. It thinks a better solution is to simply store all those favorites in the Google cloud and serve them up to users on demand through a bookmarking system that works very much the way standard web page bookmarks do. “Let’s say you’re searching for ‘bob hairstyles’ on Google and an image catches your eye,” Google software engineer Diego Accame wrote in a blog posting. “Simply select it and tap the star. Next time you’re at the stylist, you can easily access the picture without having to dig around or do another search.” Ready to think outside the (ad) box? If you’ve chosen to star several dresses that can someday be your future outfits as well, you can now add these images to a folder with similar images. That makes sense not only as a way to pull up your saved items from multiple devices, but also because “collections” are one of the new focus areas within Google’s revamped social efforts on Google+.

Instead of trying and failing to take on Facebook, the updated Google+ is now more interested in helping users create and participate in online communities or share groupings containing images, links and more with their circle of friends or the wider public. Google of course doesn’t make any Pinterest comparisons on its own, but the company appears to be well aware that Pinterest is encroaching on its turf.

Meanwhile on the mobile front, Google this week announced it is updating Chrome’s Data Saver mode to conserve even more data—up to 70 percent— by ignoring most images when loading a page on a slow connection. But it strikes me that this may could eventually help make search more efficient for users in emerging markets like India, where most cheap Android devices still ship with low internal storage but have access to Wi-Fi and increasingly affordable data packages.

In addition to this offering, Google recently launched the Pinterest-like Collections feature for Google+, which with a new redesign is now one of its main features. Not having to store favorite images from Google search on a smartphone’s internal storage would actually make a lot of sense from the perspective of users in some of those markets. It could kick off users’ participation in the Google+ collections feature in the future, as it presents a practical use case for building an online image collection via Google in the first place.

While many think of Pinterest as a social network (and it is to some extent), it really wants to be viewed as a place for finding things, which puts it directly into competition with Google. To be clear, Image Search collections aren’t currently tied to those collections you make on Google+, but an integration looks like a possibility further down the road. The biggest threat to Google’s dominance in search has always been more vertical-oriented services collectively, and Pinterest represents one part of that (as does Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc.).

If it can understand which images from particular searches are being the most starred and added to collections, that could help it better make sense of all that big data on the back end. For instance, if you searched for “bob hairstyles,” you can filter images by descriptions like “short,” “blonde,” “brown,” “modern,” and more. That also recalls Pinterest’s own search engine, which has, for some time now, offered a “guided search” experience that lets you pull up specific images by helping you find and tap on related terms. And when you need to return to view your images later on, you can just tap on the new “view saved” card with the star icon that floats in the bottom-right of the image search page.

Facebook once tried to develop interest in its own Pinterest-style “collections,” and more recently debuted a fairly weak rival effort with its Shopping Feed.

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