From recipes to DIY to beauty and fashion, Pinterest is a social media/search engine favorite for Pinners to discover posts, or pins, that appeal to them. With millions of pins to explore, Pinterest has introduced a new search tool for a more inclusive searching experience.
Users can now search for beauty-related pins based on a skin tone range option. According to a Medium post by Pinterest Engineering, some Pinners were having issues because it took several searches to find hair and beauty ideas that directly related to them. Now that's about to change.
"The skin tone ranges experiment enables you to customize your search results by a skin tone range," the post said. "We’re starting with four palettes, and each represents a range of skin tones. As our technology improves and we gather more feedback from Pinners, we plan to expand the ranges to more skin tones."
So how does this search tool work and recognize skin tone? Pinterest engineers use a third-party company called ModiFace. This AI library is used by beauty brands around the world because of its specialization in augmented reality and "machine-learning" to create a digital facial library that includes different tones and facial features to allow users to "try-on" products digitally. Meanwhile, Pinterest is using this technology for their skin tone detection algorithms. Even with this impressive detection technology, Pinterest shared that they still had to improve the method to be adjusted based on lighting and shadows in a photo, but they assure this process is a work-in-progress.
The skin tone range filter currently only exists for common beauty and hair searches, but when engaged, the filter is very simple to use. In the search bar, you can enter terms such as "beauty" and "hair" and under the search bar, in the left corner, the four shade range wheels appear. After clicking the range that fits you, the search results will refresh and show photos that are more inline with the particular tone selected.
Omar Seyal, Pinterest’s head of discovery product, told Teen Vogue that the company’s hope it to make searching on the visual social site more inclusive.
"While skin tone is only one element of trait-based personalization, we felt it was the right place to start in order to help Pinners find more relevant Pins they could try, from makeup tutorials to skincare products," Seyal said to Teen Vogue.
Pinterest also shared in their Medium post that the site will not save the tone selected by the user in order to respect their privacy. They do not plan to use that information to build a profile for users or to create targeted ads. Their intention is not to predict a user’s ethnicity but just provide a tool to create an smoother, relatable searching experience. Basically, this means that you will have to tap your skin tone range every time you return to the site but it seems like a small price to pay in the grand scheme of this innovative search filter.
As mentioned above, this feature is still being tested and is just the beginning of the company’s inclusive search methods, but it is definitely a step in the right direction!