3 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pinterest is making it easier for friends to chat about the stuff they like.

The company is rolling out a new messaging product called "Conversations," Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp said in an interview this week.

But Sharp says it's not your typical messaging app.

"This is not about chatting with friends," he said. "It's more about planning projects in your life."

Pinterest lets people "pin" images of stuff they like to digital boards. The images are called pins.

Last year Pinterest launched a feature that let friends send each other pins. Now more than 2 million pins are sent each day, Sharp said.

Pinterest users asked the company for a way to keep the conversation going either with a friend or a group of friends, Sharp said.

With "Conversations," users can reply to a pin with a message or a pin, he said.

Messaging on Pinterest is a bit different than it is on Facebook, Sharp said. It has less to do with catching up with friends and more to do with exploring and sharing your interests.

Sharp used it to plan his first trip to Japan. He created two boards -- Tokyo and Kyoto -- and through tips from Pinterest staffers in Japan discovered sights to see off the beaten path.

"There is no better way to get travel recommendations than from someone who lives where you are going and knows it well," Sharp said.

More social networks are rolling out private messaging products. Facebook agreed to pay $19 billion for popular messaging app WhatsApp in February. Twitter has made efforts to improve its messaging product. And both Vine and Instagram have added private messaging.

Messaging is the latest in a series of moves to make it easier to discover content on Pinterest and get people to spend more time on the service.

Pinterest has become the most popular place on the Web for people to collect recipes and decorating ideas, trade tips on planning a dinner party or a wedding or share latest runway fashions.

The reach of the service is growing rapidly. Pinterest is now more popular than Twitter with more than a fifth of American adults using the service, according to the Pew Research Center.

There are now more than 30 billion pins on 750 million boards, Sharp said.

Earlier this year Pinterest launched "guided search" which recommends keywords to help refine searches on the service. The feature helps people find the stuff they are looking for and the stuff they didn't know they were looking for.

Pinterest's popularity especially with women and high potential for growth have captured the attention of investors.

In May Pinterest raised $200 million from venture capitalists in a funding round that valued the company at $5 billion, ranking it among the most valuable venture capital backed startups in the world.

3 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wkyc.com/1sjHUJq