Pinterest beefing up search capabilities with VisualGraph purchase

The most visually-pleasing (or cluttered) social network will soon be infusing even more visual capabilities into its platform.

While media buzz over valuations and funding rounds continue to grow with fervor, Pinterest is expanding its resources once again with the acquisition of VisualGraph.

Run by a pair of former Google engineer, VisualGraph is a San Francisco-based startup founded less than a year ago for the purpose of building image recognition and visual search technology.

Being that Pinterest is arguably the most visually-intensive social network on the Internet, serving as a digital dashboard, scrapbook and then some, steps to improve the search capabilities are likely welcome -- if not already needed.

VisualGraph’s two employees, founder Kevin Jing and colleague David Liu, will be joining the Pinterest engineering team, effective immediately.

Without going into the nitty-gritty details of the technology behind the visual search functionality, the pair explained in a blog post on Monday that their company's mission has been -- up until this point -- to connect and graph images for a greater purpose.

Our mission at VisualGraph is to connect these inspirational images together. While a single image can captivate and inspire, a network of connected images allows for inspiration, exploration and discovery at scale. Our approach is to combine the state-of-the-art machine vision tools, such as object recognition (e.g. shoes, faces), with large-scale distributed search and machine learning infrastructures.

Hinting there is a data-motivated element involved here, the Pinterest team explained further in an email that "the acquisition of VisualGraph will help us build technology to better understand what people are Pinning."

Pinterest declined to comment on the financial terms of the transaction.


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