Instagram launching new Explore and Search features to Android and iOS apps

Instagram’s latest update features curated photo collections and trending tags. Instagram’s new feed with photos and videos is poised to deliver a more satisfactory experience.

The new Explore is only available in the USA for now, but search is here for everyone.

Facebook (FB, Tech30) is the most heavily curated option, and is constantly changing the algorithms that control News Feed. Now, Instagram’s search function is far more intelligent, providing more contextualized searches. “It is allowing our community to connect to the world as it happens”.

All of the trends will surface in real-time, with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom telling Wired: “This is our North Star-what we’ve been shooting for all along”. “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”. “But, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find these moments”.

Everyone will be able to take advantage of the improved search features. Although people could search Instagram for photos tagged with a particular hashtag, such as #WorldSeries, that would bring up every photo tagged with the subject.

Instagram says that because its algorithms are able to identify posts as they begin to trend, the new feature will be particularly useful to newsrooms and other organizations looking to stay on top of the latest trends. There was no way to filter the results to find the most recent photos. Instagram usually shows images from other the accounts users follow. In January, Snapchat announced a publishing partnership with the likes of CNN, ESPN and Vice.

Barnes said the focus was on trending topics and that Instagram didn’t have plans for live streaming at this time. The focus of the update is a brand-new explore and and a search update that make Instagram feel even more like a competitor to Twitter than ever before. Already, both companies have a similar number of users.

You’ll see new collections of photos based around themes, like ancient ruins or “glimmering islands”.

Lauren Leatherby is an intern on NPR’s Washington Desk.

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