Pinterest today debuted a new search feature with mobile utilization at its core. To search through the over 30 billion pins on the site can be a chore, particularly if users are looking for something specific – and indeed, those individual pins are now loaded with links to purchase, location tags, related pins and other information. In the interest of facilitating discovery, and thereby clickthroughs on those links, Pinterest has launched “Guided Search” for Android and iOS. A user enters a topic, and pins appear with suggestions for how to narrow the search. The goal is to facilitate natural discovery throughout the search process; if a user wants hair styles, they’ll be suggested things like bangs, hair length, and the like. With Pinterest looking for ways to prove that its platform drives revenue, guiding users to what they’re looking for on mobile is, and now will continue to be, a key feature of the platform.
Thanks to Facebook’s integration with OpenTable, which has access to about 20,000 U.S. dining establishments, you’ll soon be able to make reservations on the go through Facebook later this week. The service will be available on Facebook’s mobile site and newly updated apps for iOS and Android. Because the service is so mobile-based, there are a few device-specific advantages, like the ability to use Facebook’s “Nearby Places” function to find restaurants around you. Facebook claims that its integration is much more seamless than OpenTable’s other partners, Yelp and Google Maps, and wants to bake in deep, cross-platform compatibility. We’ll find out just how successful they are later this week.
Mobile payments are coming in a big way. Financial results released last week by Starbucks show that more than 10% of sales were made by mobile phone last quarter, reflecting the coffee giant’s early adoption of Apple’s Passbook technology. The mobile payments trend trades customer data for an improved customer experience with special deals and faster service. Food sales and overall profits are up significantly as well, in a corresponding move, giving Starbucks no reason to slow their adoption of forward-thinking technologies. Next on chief digital officer Adam Brotman’s list: the wireless charging mat.