Pinterest names its first CTO and releases new visual search features

Pinterest on Tuesday named its first chief technology officer and said it’s releasing new features for its visual search tool Lens, another milestone for the San Francisco tech firm that is valued at $11 billion.

Vanja Josifovski, the company’s head of discovery engineering, is being promoted to CTO and will be working on the company’s machine learning, search and infrastructure efforts.

He is reporting to Pinterest’s Head of Engineering Li Fan.

“With a growing team of engineers and technical opportunity ahead of us, Vanja will bring his machine learning, search and research expertise to lead the team’s technical initiatives while I continue to oversee the engineering organization, roadmap and vision,” Fan said in a statement.

Prior to joining Pinterest in 2105, Josifovski worked at Google and Yahoo.

The announcement came on the same day that the tech firm started rolling out new features for its visual search tool Lens, which lets users search for ideas and images by snapping a photo in real life.

Pinterest started beta testing the tool this year, rolling it to users worldwide on iOS and Android. Search results, though, differ depending on how you compose a photo.

But the company is making improvements to Lens as it learns more from how people use it.

One feature, called Visual Guides, allows users to narrow their search to one item if there are multiple objects in a photo. If you snap a photo of an entire outfit, for example, you can narrow the search to a hat, jacket or a pair of shoes.

Pinterest’s Visual Guides. Photo provided by Pinterest.

Instead of clicking on a camera icon on the search bar, there’s also a faster way to access the tool on an iPhone’s home screen by pressing longer on the Pinterest app. Lens users will also be able to use the tool to read QR Codes.

Pinterest has more than 175 million monthly active users.

Photo: A sign at the new headquarters for Pinterest  on June 28, 2016, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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