Let’s say you go to the grocery store with a list — milk, eggs and bread. You walk around the store and add those items to your cart. That’s search. Now let’s say in the course of walking around the store you add pickles, oranges and cookies. That’s discovery.

Discovery is all about stumbling upon things you didn’t even know you were looking for. This happens online and in real life. It expands your horizons by providing information and experiences that you may have never sought out. After all, do you really want to go through life just eating milk, eggs and bread?

At Curalate, discovery is core to what we think about daily. We envision a future in which discovery online happens as naturally as discovery offline. And we believe that, increasingly, this will happen through the visual content that appears on all the digital touchpoints that surround you.

Today, we took another step towards improving discovery online, and we did it with Google. Google unveiled shop the look, a new beta experience that allows shoppers to browse and purchase items directly from curated lifestyle images sourced from Curalate clients – some of the world’s most recognized brands – and other select partners. Core to this experience is visual content and the connection of that content to products contained within it.

To make images a jumping-off point for discovery, Curalate clients depict products in context rather than on a white background as traditionally shot for shopping environments. Brands use Curalate’s platform to connect their images to the products contained within them, creating “intelligent images” that are featured in Google’s search results. The result? Search that inspires more discovery and connects people from aspiration to action.

As an example, a search for “patio ideas” may result in an image of a lush outdoor setting complete with chairs, tables, planters, dinnerware and more. Just like walking through the perfectly prepped supermarket aisles can help you discover pickles or oranges, a compelling patio image can help you discover a chair that would look great in your backyard. More importantly, seeing how all the patio furniture fits together provides the consumer with visual inspiration that could lead them to buy related items — like a table or planter.

For participating brands, shop the look represents a powerful new distribution source for editorial content that may have previously only briefly seen the light of day on a social network. Brands can now get greater leverage out of existing content, connect that content to Google Shopping results, and drive greater traffic to the brand.

We’re excited about how the shop the look beta will help drive more inspiration and discovery on Google. People aren’t always searching for specific things. Many times, they’re just looking for some inspiration. Shop the look broadens their options and introduces them to products, experiences and ideas they never would have found otherwise. Visually.