Social media platform Instagram has announced two major updates: a new Explore page and improved search functionality. The photo and video-sharing app used its own blog to make the announcements.
The new Explore page is designed to hone in on trends as they gain momentum in real-time, connecting users to conversations and events happening locally and globally. Up-to-date content will be revealed through trending Tags and trending Places functions. The top of the new Explore page will host curated collections that will be updated on a regular basis. The curated collections will be drawn from the feeds of the most popular Instagram accounts. Users can find the new Explore page by clicking on the magnifying glass symbol located to the left of the centre “camera” button.
With the new design, Instagram users can switch seamlessly between photos without the need to return to the Explore page between images.
Instagram has rolled out the new Explore page for the US market only, but it does intend to add global markets once it has fine-tuned the new feature.
The new Places Search allows Instagram users to find content in respect of just about any location in the world. Top Search enables users to search all at once across different categories, such as people, places and tags. Under the old Instagram search system, users were directed to people or hashtags. All of the searched for categories will now be shown at the same time. Unlike the new Explore, the new Instagram search engine is being made available globally with immediate effect.
With the new updates, it is clear that Instagram is seeking a larger slice of the social media market. It rivals Twitter in approximate terms in respect of the number of users, with figures from January of this year showing monthly active user figures worldwide of 300 million for Instagram and 284 million for Twitter. However, Twitter’s search engine and more robust features have allowed it to become better at bringing trending topics to the fore. Instagram has been generating a lot of use, with 70 million photos a day being posted, but figuring out which ones are the most important has been difficult.