Idea-sharing social media site Pinterest announced in a blog post yesterday that they're officially launching Pincodes — image-based codes (similar to QR codes) that you can scan to unlock inspiration. Though Pinterest hasn't yet given individual users the ability to create QR codes, select companies and publishers such as Kraft Heinz and Nordstrom have hopped on board, meaning that you may soon stumble upon them in the wild while shopping. It seems that the idea is to give consumers the ability to scan a product's packaging to see potential ways to use it — for instance, scanning a food item may lead you to recipe ideas, while scanning a sweater's tag may give you ideas on how to style it.

Here's how to start using Pincodes today:

  1. Launch the Pinterest app on your smartphone.
  2. Tap the camera icon at the top right of your screen (next to the search bar) to open your Pinterest camera.
  3. Position the Pincode within the circle. (Note: you don't have to actually take a photo!)
  4. That's it! Within a few seconds Pinterest should pull up Pins, boards, and ideas based on the Pincode.

You can also follow the Pinterest accounts of your friends and family by scanning their pre-generated Pincode. Next time you hang out, all they have to do is tap on their profile picture in the app. That will pull up their code, and you can scan it using the method above.

In addition to Pincodes, Pinterest is introducing a few new visual search and shopping tools this week to celebrate the visual search feature's second anniversary. These include Lens Your Look, which allows users to take a photo of an item in their wardrobe and add it to a Pinterest search in order to receive personalized outfit ideas, and an improved Shop the Look feature that lets you purchase more than 5 million new shoppable products across 25 thousand brands right from the Pinterest app.

Questions?

Have you tried the new Pincodes feature yet? If you haven't, are you excited to test it out? Let us know what you think of it in the comments!