The recently launched Google Image Search “Collections” feature is challenging Pinterest, by offering a new way of saving and organizing pictures.
Image search results can now be bookmarked by users, so that they can be more conveniently accessed in the future. Before, there was no way for mobile users to store images retrieved through the search engine, except by saving them on their device, so as to check them at a later date.
This however had the disadvantage of leaving it up to individuals to actually arrange the ever-growing assortment of pictures, and few people took the time to place the files in an actual order, making it extremely difficult to find a particular picture afterwards.
Thanks to the new Collections feature however, it is possible to star a picture, just like you would add a webpage to your favorites. Once the image has been starred, it can be placed in a special, custom-made folder, where other files pertaining to the same topic can also be added.
This is achieved by tapping on the Edit button, shaped as a pencil, and there is also the possibility to add multiple tags to a certain picture, so that it can be placed in several collections at once.
Furthermore, filtered searches can be carried out, by selecting one of the potential suggestions displayed by the search engine, when the initial topic is overly broad, and more specific terms would be preferable.
This type of assistance has been widely used by Pinterest ever since April 2014, through its “Guided Search” that makes it possible to narrow down results, into more precise categories, so as to give substance to the visitor’s unexpressed thoughts.
In fact, the newly launched functionality is eerily similar to the one already provided by the photo sharing platform, which allows users to “pin” images, and place them into collections called “pinboards”.
The bookmarked content often serves as a source of inspiration, meant to give users aesthetically pleasing suggestions, which they can incorporate in their daily lives.
Pinterest, whose market valuation is at $11 billion, appeals mostly to the female public, which represents around 70% of its 151 million users, according to a Nielsen study. The most in-demand categories are those related to foods and drinks, arts & crafts, clothing, traveling and interior design.
Google Image Search Results seems to target the same type of audience, since among the potential benefits given as examples for “Collections” was the possibility to assemble creative snowman building tips, hairstyle cravings, or travelling ideas.
According to Diego Accame, Google Software Engineer, who authored the post regarding this recent upgrade, the feature can be accessed only after users have logged in using their Google accounts.
Thus, it appears that the potentially popular addition is also meant to spur further interest in Google+, the company’s social network which has recently undertaken a complete overhaul, in an effort to promote greater user engagement.
The current focus of this interest-based platform has now been placed on promoting a sense of community online, by allowing users to hold discussions on a wide variety of topics, by exchanging ideas as well as multimedia content, such as images or videos.
Since Google+ already offers its members the possibility to group related pictures together, it does indeed seem likely that eventually this service will be synchronized with the Image Search feature, thus streamlining the entire process of building personalized visual collections.
So far, the new upgrade has been introduced on iOS and Android devices, across the United States. It’s unclear for now if or when it will also be extended to desktop devices, or at a global level.
Amazon has also taken a page from Pinterest’s book when it developed its own “Collections” feature, and Facebook has also tried a similar product, but both of them have failed, so only time will tell if Google’s own venture will eventually reap any palpable rewards.
Image Source: Google Blog