Pinterest may be best known for shopping inspiration and design ideas, but the company’s latest product aims to inspire its users to tap into their own creativity. The company has quietly launched a new iOS app called Shuffles for building collages with photos, image cutouts, and other animated effects. The app is currently in invite-only status and can be placed on a waitlist from the home screen.
According to the description of Shuffles on the App Store, users can create their own collages using Pinterest’s photo library or take pictures of objects they want to include with the camera. They can also cut individual objects from an image with a tap – a feature that recalls the clever ability to cut images from iOS 16. Images in Shuffles can then be rotated, layered, and resized on the screen to create the collage, and optionally animations and effects can be added. The final project can be shared with friends for collaboration or posted to public groups where others can ‘remix’ the original creation in their own way.
The description of the app suggests that it can be used for visualizing a room makeover, fashion ideas, mood boards and more.
While the company had not formally announced its plans around Shuffles, a Pinterest spokesperson confirmed that the app comes from its new in-house incubator, TwoTwenty.
“Shuffles is a standalone app created by TwoTwenty, Pinterest’s innovative incubator team. Shuffles is an engaging way to create, publish and share visual content,” said the spokesperson. “As more people come to our platform for creative inspiration, we’re constantly experimenting with new ways to help pinners and creators bring their ideas to life.”
“As this app is in its initial testing phase, we don’t have any additional details to share at this time,” she added, refusing to share more about its future plans or monetization.
TwoTwenty was launched last November and named after Pinterest’s first office. The aim of TwoTwenty was to stimulate more internal experimentation on the social network and increase the pace of innovation. Other tech giants, including Meta, Microsoft, and Google, are making similar efforts with their own incubators — NPE, Microsoft Garage, and Area 120, respectively.
In Pinterest’s case, the company has been working to transition from its past as an image bulletin board and bookmarking site that helps drive e-commerce transactions to adapt to today’s era where consumers are asked to make purchases through video content. To meet consumer demand for video, Pinterest has released its TikTok-esque Idea Pins and a live shopping feature, Pinterest TV. The latter, by the way, was also launched by the team at TwoTwenty.
But TwoTwenty isn’t just for experimenting with video. The organization, made up of engineers, designers and other product experts, aims to explore, prototype and test a variety of new ideas to see if they catch on. Those that do are handed over to other teams within the company to scale up.
The early stage Shuffles project is just one of those ideas.
The funny thing is that Pinterest’s new app is similar to a mobile collage maker that Meta ran through his own in-house incubator, NPE Team, a few years ago. Known as E.gg, the kind of zine maker developed a small following who enjoyed creating mixed media collages that combined images, text, and GIFs. But like almost all of Meta’s NPE projects, E.gg was shut down. Pinterest’s Shuffles could try to tap into that same consumer demand for image-led creativity and inspiration that Meta had left.
The app also comes at a time when there is an undercurrent of resistance to the idea that video should be the only form of social expression and creativity in social media as all the tech giants are trying to turn themselves into TikTok. Over the past month, user opposition to Instagram’s deprioritization of friends’ content and photos peaked after even the Kardashians begged the app to stop trying to be TikTok. Instagram has rolled back some of its recent changes as a result, but it’s still a video-first future.
Pinterest probably understands to some extent that its own spin on video may not be able to hold users’ attention indefinitely in light of the TikTok threat. Finding another growth area through experiment could open up new avenues for it to explore.
Financially, the company’s most recent quarter revenue was solid from a numbers standpoint, but it had missed user growth. Monthly active users were down 9% year over year to 433 million.
The company will report its second quarter results after the market closes today. Note that this will be the first gain since new CEO Bill Ready took over from co-founder Ben Silbermann, who transitioned to executive chairman on June 29, 2022.