In a recent BuzzFeed article (well, not-so-recent in online terms), one writer praised Pinterest for its streamlined results and easy of use. As a long-time Pinterest lover, I tend to agree. The site allows users to quickly and efficiently search any topic, and, so long as it exists on the site, it shows up. Spam is a rare fine, and relevant searches always pop up. Unlink Google, Bing, and other search engines, Pinterest actually shows viewers what they want. And best of all, it has giant, clear pictures to help show us what’s clickable and what isn’t.

pinterest summer searchSo what is it that makes Pinterest’s results “better” than the other guys’? Sure it’s more colorful and picture-heavy, but what about the efficiency of each search? In all but one of the author’s tests, Pinterest searches showed more variety than Google. When Pinterest showed recipes, clothing, décor, and ocean scenes, Google showed stock photos and cartoons. Most pictures were similar in theme and subject matter, and did little for searcher’s creativity. The hold up, love, showed no results. (Though when I did it myself, hundreds of items showed up with the description “love”; none were related to hearts, Valentine’s Day, or any romantic gesture whatsoever.)

Why They’re Different

The extremely varied search results are no doubt a product of each website. While Pinterest was made for the creative mind, Google compiles images from the entire Internet. It searches keywords, while Pinterest users tag them in for each photo. Likely this will create issues down the road – for instance when users continue to use nouns as descriptive words, i.e. “love” instead of “I love this look.” For now, however, it seems to be out-searching the web’s go-to engine.

Another factor weighing against Google is their own platform. For years website owners have been pumping keywords into their images and content, with the sole purpose that it will appear in results. These spammers/SEO enthusiasts don’t so much care about their clicks being relevant, so long as they still have clicks. Google has continued to adjust this platform to create a more organic experience for users, but there is simply too much back work to be changed in a few engine updates.

For now at least, it seems that Pinterest, a social media site, has found a way to trump search engine mogul Google at their own game. And what’s even more impressive is that they did it by accident.

For more unique search results in your search engine queries, give Pinterest a try today.


Engine photo courtesy Vin Dooley; Pinterest search screen shot taken 6-24-13.