Monday, Pinterest announced the release of a new visual search tool that allows you to search part of a pinned image for similar pins—so you can find out more about the items in the photo and potentially purchase them.
It's not quite the same as reach-through-your-screen-and-grab-it technology, but it's the next best thing. The tool, which launches Tuesday, will allow you to select part of an image--like a vase, or a pair of shoes, or a bookcase--and Pinterest will search for visually similar pins. If it's a commercially available product, chances are someone else has Pinned it, and you can find out where it's from and how to get it.
Along with Instagram, Pinterest has become a great platform for the aspirational type of social media guru. But it's difficult to build a brand if you can't easily provide more info about what products you're featuring. Instagrammers have been trying to find ways around this for years, since Instagram doesn't allow for hyperlinks anywhere except the user bio. Presumably this new tool will help major Pinterest presences hawk their favorite products, so watch out for your wallet.