CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about the new feature in a live audio room on Facebook, explaining that the company is still in the early development stages of building the camera-based research tool. The new feature resembles competitors Snapchat and Pinterest visual search operations, both of which have heavily invested in over the years. Instagram expects that the visual search tool will be able to provide shoppers with multiple options of similar products, while also alerting them where it could be available on the app. It is said that the camera feature will allow the user to find products using their cameras or images directly from their camera roll.
Zuckerberg explains, “When you find something you’ll be able to tap on it and find similar products that people across all of our shops are selling the moment that you see something that you like. We think that visual search is going to be really helpful in making photos shoppable Instagram overall.”
The shopping feature was also announced that it will soon be added to Facebook Marketplace and WhatsApp. Facebook is also working on bringing “Shops ads” to the platforms to better allow businesses to target ads based on users’ individual shopping preferences.