Instagram Offers New Explore Page & Search Options

Facebook-owned photo sharing network updates mobile app make it easier to find real-time content.

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Instagram is trying to make it easier for people to search and discover content on its service, with a revamped Explore box to help users find trending information and improved search for those directly seeking stuff out.

The updates, rolling out today on Instagram’s iOS and Android apps, are an aggressive push into real-time news for the Facebook-owned photo sharing network. People share 70 million photos and videos daily on the service, but up to now it’s been difficult to find the latest posts about the Oscars, the NBA finals, Father’s Day or other things people are sharing.

The revamped Explore tab aims to solve that problem by surfacing trending tags, places and popular accounts, compiling images from moments captured by Instagram’s 300 million active users. “Through trending Tags and trending Places, you can experience moments like #bonnaroo or #fathersday from every perspective,” Instagram explained in a blog post. “Rich visual content captures everyone’s unique take — not just what the community is talking about, but also what they’re doing and seeing.”

At the top of the Explore section, which is currently available only to users in the U.S., Instagram is displaying curated collections about interesting accounts and places, like “Extreme Athletes,” “Glimmering Islands” and “Ancient Ruins.” Those collections are curated by the Instagram editorial team.


For those looking for specific information, Instagram has made major improvements to search, adding the ability to search for places. Previously, people were limited to search for hashtags and accounts; now they can drill into each of those categories or search simultaneously across them all. On the search pages, photos and videos are divided into sections for top and most recent posts.


Instagram’s effort to surface more newsworthy content is similar to moves by other social networks. Twitter plans a new product, called Project Lightning, that will pull together tweets, photos and videos about live events and present them in a more manageable way. And Snapchat is accelerating its Live Stories feature — a hand-selected series of posts by users related to an event or location, even tackling serious news topics like the reaction to the shooting at the Emanuel AME church last week.

Now Instagram is stepping to the plate.

“People are hungry for what’s happening right now in the world,” Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom told the Wall Street Journal. “All of us in social media and regular media, we’re all competing for the same thing, which is this gap between something happening in the world and you knowing about it.”

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Martin Beck
Martin Beck was Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter from March 2014 through December 2015.

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