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January 30, 2014

Pinterest Gives Better Image Results than Google

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It was one of those times when my scrambled brain needed a break from work. I scrolled through my e-mails and noticed Pinterest’s weekly newsletter so I decided to go on Pinterest for a five-minute break.

On Pinterest, I found myself unconsciously typing the word chocolate in the search bar. I guess I was hungry or craving chocolate, both of which happen a lot. I have no idea what happened next. It seemed only a few minutes had passed, when I noticed the time — one whole hour had gone by.

DAMN YOU PINTEREST.

I had totally lost track of time as images the kept rolling on to Pinterest — and no matter how much I scrolled down, the page never ended.

From chocolate bars to chocolate cakes to chocolate fondue and chocolate fountains, I was filled with emotions. The love of my life in so many different forms.

How did this happen? I sat there asking myself. This never happened when I searched chocolate in Google image.

pinterset-google-search-chocolate

That’s when I knew, Pinterest had an edge over Google image.

We all know that Google is updating its policies to make search results better, remove spam and push quality websites up in the results, but a lot must be changed in Google image search to enable users to experience an image search of equal quality as in Web search.

This is where Pinterest comes in. Today, we will compare Google Image with Pinterest to see which website works better visually.

Who Uses Pinterest

Pinterest provides lifestyle-based images like fashion, cooking, home improvement projects etc, which makes it the perfect place if you are looking for daily fashion ideas, images of food or image-based instructions.

According to Harkable stats, most Pinterest users are women and 50 percent of those women have children.

pinterset-google-users-male-vs-female

 

pinterset-google-users-age-group

These statistics show that women tend to use Pinterest more while men are more apt to use Google.

So why are women using Pinterest over Google? Pinterest is directed toward women. So if a woman is looking for hairstyle, she would probably go to Pinterest instead of Google. Why?

On Pinterest, she will find tons of hairstyles that are actually created and worn by average people that she can relate to while on Google, 80 percent of the hairstyles they view will be celebrities whose hair is styled professionally.

Skimming Unnecessary Images 

Google blatantly displays every image from all over the Web that has the associated keywords. When you type a keyword, the result page is a repetition of similar or identical images.

Why don’t you try it yourself? Open two tabs – Google image and Pinterest. Type the keywords Johnson’s Baby.”

The Google image will give you many images of Johnson’s Baby lotion many of which will be identical, similar or repeated while on Pinterest, you will get no repetition, wider variety of products and unique images of everything else related to Johnson’s Baby.

While Google image will give you lotions upon lotions, Pinterest will give you lotions, babies, quotes, Johnson’s Baby dresses, their events, their take-away and gifts.

 Pinterest grabs qualit images from small niche Web pages

When you search an image in Google, the image results appear depending upon the content ranking and Web ranking, so its priority, even in image search, is content and a top quality website.

I absolutely cannot deny the fact that there are many small niche blogs that are full of highly quality images which Google ignores because their Web ranking is not good. There are many people who have personal blogging website and they blog because they love to express and share, not because they want to be loved by Google.

Their blogs or images are not covered by SEO, but the quality of their content and images cannot be disregarded.

Pinterest is a savior for them. Every good quality image on their blog can be  shared, spread and loved. People do not pin low-quality, unattractive or ugly images. They only pin when an image is worth pinning so Pinterest image results will actually skim all the bad images, giving you only the best.

Here is the proof of my point.

I typed in different keywords and picked the following sites from 10th 20th and 30th Google page.

1. Vikram’s Berries

2. The Urban Poser

3. Beauty Tutorials

4. Free People

5. The Handmade Wedding

These Web places have unique content with quality images. These people own blog sites because of their passion for writing — not for SEO or Google policy. They write to share their experiences and help others.

Such quality websites go unnoticed by Google Images, but they shine on Pinterest.

Pinterest provides real answers based on interest

We all know that Google is updating its policies to make search results better, remove spam and push quality websites up in the results but there is a lot to be changed on Google image search so that users can experience an equally better quality image search as they do in Web search.

While Google’s Web search has moved from giving you “what you asked” to “what you want” through tracking your Web cookies, your likes and interests, Google’s image search is still stuck on blankly giving you images that have the keywords you typed.

Now Pinterest, on the other hand, is doing much better in this regard. It tracks users’ likes, interests and time spent on sites they visit through pins on Pinterest, thus it gives a better image search result.

It also gives you images that will actually help you — images you are actually looking for instead of showing images you do not want.

I typed in “Home Project” upon Google and I got many pictures of houses from the outside and some blue prints of house that are relatively useless to the keywords I typed.

But when I typed the same on Pinterest, oh my my my, what do we have here. From shelves, carpet, gardens, libraries to bedroom renovation, lighting systems and styling ideas, everything will ACTUALLY help you.

pinterset-google-search-home-project

What Pinterest does not have

  • A feature to search an image through an image — Google search allows you to search an image using an image which is sometimes necessary if you are looking for a certain image.

My previous job required me to write jewelry descriptions. I was provided with a set of jewelry images and was asked to describe each of them. The Google feature helped in that task — I was able to write exact descriptions from the information on Google.

  • Animated gif images — While Google has an option to search for animated gifs, Pinterest only allows you to search for static images.
  • Ability to search without logging in — When you go to Pinterest, you will have to login to access the images and the search facility. So if you are not registered on Pinterest and not logged in, you cannot use the search facility or even browse the images.
  • Exact keyword results — Pinterest offers you a wide variety of options for the searched keywords.
    pinterset-google-search-strawberry

My Verdict?

Google and Pinterest are going head-to-head in a battle to be an ultimate image search place. While Pinterest provides more lifestyle based search results that are of greater interest to women, Google provides specific search results for the male audience.

Pinterest is the ideal spot for images if you want tutorials, ideas for gifts, makeup, fashion styles, what to wear etc. In a broad sense, Pinterest is a place where you find how to make your living better through images.

Google on the other hand is a place that will give you images exactly as the keywords you typed or anything closer to those keywords.


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Kumail Hemani works as a digital marketing strategist for Global Business Solutions (Globus) based in Dubai, UAE. You can read more about him here and get in touch with him on Twitter @KRHemani

3 Responses to “Pinterest Gives Better Image Results than Google

    avatar SAK says:

    Great emerging Social Site Pinterest Follow and Pin as well as like and Repin POSTS mostly Images(fine resolutions and searching easily)

    avatar C.R. says:

    I’ve been using Pinterest since Aug. 2012. I’m my opinion, Pinterest’s search engine is terrible, still, and lacks many features/options most search engines scripts have. There’s no Advance Search options, no tips page on how to do searches and what options you have for search terms. I get MANY totally irrelevant results that have NONE of the keywords I used. They recently ‘smartened’ up the search so it now matches for plurals and synonyms, which is bad if you don’t want that, and there’s no advance search options to stop that. If you search for paintings by some genre, you get matches on painted, paint etc., which is NOT what you wanted. There’s no way to filter out ‘painted, paint’ like you can on Google.

    “while on Pinterest, you will get no repetition”. Wrong. I get duplicate pins all the time. Just did a search for a particular item (a 3 word phrase), and got MANY of the exact same image, and many more of the same item with a different pic of it. But sometimes they only show a few or 1-2 of a pin and then some related ones, even if there’s been many repins or original pins of it, so it’s not consistent. PLENTY of repetitive pins on my search for ‘Johnson’s Baby’ too (and I’ve not ever pinnned any, and my tracking prefs there are ‘off’ for ‘sites you visit’ tracking), so don’t know what Pinterest you’re using. It’s not as repetitive as Google, usually, but the alogrithms are very different, so naturally the results will be different. And the ‘infinite scrolling’ hasn’t worked with my Firefox browser YET (most recent version too), since they started that ‘feature’ months and months ago. Doesn’t work with IE8 much of the time too, it just gets to the end of a page and you have to reload to see more pins (and there’s no instruction that you should do that at the page end, like when they had the ‘See more pins’ button). Inquires/complaints about that have never been answered.

    “While Google image will give you lotions upon lotions, Pinterest will give you lotions, babies, quotes, Johnson’s Baby dresses, their events, their take-away and gifts.” Yep, which is NOT what many of us want, we want to see what we searched on, like Google does (mostly). If I want to see related stuff, I’ll do related searches, or look at the related pins below any single pins I open. But I don’t want my search results cluttered with stuff I didn’t ask for, and again, there’s no way to filter the results. ‘Jonhson’s Baby’ is too broad a search for Google anyway, and of course it will show you the main products, becasue that’s what they make. If you want OTHER related or more specific stuff, you add that to your search terms. Pinterest throws it all in together whether you want it or not, unless you do more specific searches too, which is what you’re supposed to know to do.

    And like Google, Pinterest has a hierarchy of what they show first, which isn’t what searchers may agree with–pins with many repins and from popular users are nearer the top, while new pins or low repinned ones, or from ‘small’ users, will be way down the page, regardless how well matched their description may be to your search terms. So the results are not in as relevant ORDER as they could be, which means you may miss more relevant pics if you don’t keep scrolling forever.

    “It tracks users’ likes, interests and time spent on sites they visit through pins on Pinterest, thus it gives a better image search result.” That’s IF you have your Pinterest tracking preferences turned on. And based on the massive dislike of the ‘Related Pins’ feature in users Home Feed, due to it’s extremely poor accuracy, which they haven’t been able to make better in many months now, I doubt their search results are tailored all that much better, but they are better than the Related Pin software.

    “It also gives you images that will actually help you — images you are actually looking for instead of showing images you do not want.” Untrue, again. You get both, just like Google. And they usually get less relevant the farther down the page you go, just like Google.

    “So if you are not registered on Pinterest and not logged in, you cannot use the search facility or even browse the images.” Nope. You can view images and categories without being logged in or a member, you just need to know to use the URL for whatever category, or go to http://www.pinterest.com/all/ and use the pop-open window with the categories (that dumb 3-line square icon next to the search bar, for those new to that site). But you can’t use the search function when not loggd in now, but you used to be able to.

    “Exact keyword results–Pinterest offers you a wide variety of options for the searched keywords.” What do you mean/where do you see that? It’ll show you some related terms on a drop down box when you fill in the search, but there’s no real ‘search options’ like every other site like this should have when they launch, much less 3+ years later. Unless you’re privy to some new test version I haven’t seen yet? I just did a search on a 3 word phrase in quotes on there, and many of the top results do NOT have that exact 3 word phrase, and the results were just the same as the 2 ‘main’ words in quotes (particular tv show/movie franchise) plus the 3rd word. Nothing ‘exact’ about that. Requests for real advance options have fallen on deaf ears.

    “…Google provides specific search results for the male audience.” Wrong again. Google provides image search results based on your keywords and adds some related ones down the page, but it’s not aimed toward any gender, regardless if more men use it than women, if that’s even true. Why would it be? They don’t know if it’s a male or female searching. And Pinterest doesn’t tailor their SEARCH results to women, they tailor them to the users keywords, sites visited and your repins (if you’ve allowed that in your prefs). They may have no idea if you’re male or female, and again, the results are based more on their algorithm hierarchy than gender. The SITE is geared more toward women, hence most pins will be too, but not the search function.

    Google doesn’t always get me the best results on image searches, but much of that is because sites haven’t named their images correctly, so they don’t come up on a search. MANY on Pinterest don’t have their image files named with what the image is when they upload or repin from another site, nor do they leave or make a caption that describes the pin, so many useful pins aren’t found in searches there either. Google images has far fewer outages and glitches than Pinterest too. But yes, you’ll get tons of matches on Pinterest and should be able to find plenty of what you’re looking for. Too many, most of the time, as you noticed. Your 2 search phrase examples are too broad for comparison though.

    You can usually find the same images on Google as you do on Pinterest if you use more specific search terms. And you can find images FROM Pinterest on Google Images if you use “site:pinterest.com” (not in quotes) after your search terms, and that may make the results MORE accurate than doing it on Pinterest. And you’ll get to see MORE onscreen at once much quicker too. That’s ‘better visually’ to me than waiting for Pinterest to load and wait for more pins to load while you scroll.

    That’s my take on things Pinterest, your mileage may vary.

    avatar hatiputera says:

    Pinterest is more better to sharing abou image. Majority women very like to using pinterest.

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