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Pinterest ramps up location search

Pinterest ramps up location search

The new tool is faster and better at predicting users' intentions

Pinterest's places search tool.

Pinterest's places search tool.

Six months after adding its Place Pins feature, Pinterest is improving the search technology around the location pins.

The company announced Friday an enhanced and faster version of its places search tool. The result is a more streamlined search for users, with better smarts under the hood. The tool suggests places near where people are searching, and provides ranked results based on geography, population and data quality.

Pinterest's places search runs on Foursquare data. It's available on iOS and the Web, the company said, with an Android version coming soon.

Pinterest is known for the profiles or "boards" its users create, filled with images of desired retail items, event planning ideas, or cooking recipes. Since the company launched Place Pins, users have created more than 1 billion travel Pins, and more than 4 million Place Boards, the company said Friday.

Previously, users had to separate their search queries into two different boxes: one for the place's name and the other for where it was located. Users found it to be non-intuitive, Pinterest said Friday. "We set out to build a more natural place search interface based on just a single text input field," the company said.

Pinterest's places search is also designed to be more natural, so people don't need to type the specific name of a place to find it. If someone has a pin saved on the AT&T baseball stadium in San Francisco, the person can search for "Giants SF," and AT&T Park will appear as the first result, Pinterest said.

The enhanced technology could help broaden Pinterest's usefulness as a discovery engine, and also draw in more local advertisers as the company ramps up its advertising efforts.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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