Fans of iPhone photography should check out Instagram 7.0, the latest update to the Facebook-owned mobile photo sharing app. The new versions surfaced Tuesday on the App Store with interesting new social media discovery features such as an improved search and a much enhanced Explore tab.
With dynamically updated trending tags and places under the Explore tab, Instagram users can now check out, in real-time, what’s happening around them and what’s trending all over the world.
As for curated collections, Instagram now makes it easy to check out cherry-picked people and places using a rotating carousel. Some of the hand-picked content includes extreme athletes or famous national parks.
“We’ve completely reimagined the Explore page to make discovery on Instagram immediate and effortless,” Instagram said. “The new Explore now surfaces trends as they emerge in real-time, connecting you to events and conversations both near you and around the globe.”
At the top of some hashtag and place pages you may see a section called Top Posts above Most Recent. These appear on trending hashtags and places to show you some of the popular posts tagged with that hashtag or place.
Search improvements (finally!) include searching all posts and the ability to find Instagrams specifically tagged with a place name. “Do a quick power search across username, name, hashtag or location,” release notes mention.
To use the improved search feature, tap the magnifying glass icon then choose whether you’re looking for Users or Hashtags. When searching people by their name or username, your results are based on a variety of factors such as the people you follow, who you’re connected to and what photos and videos you like on Instagram.
The new Top Search also lets you search across people, places and tags all at once. And with more than an astounding 70 million photos and videos shared on Instagram every day, anything that helps me find a needle in the haystack gets my immediate approval.
Photos and videos for Search & Explore are curated by Instagram’s editorial team based on content liked by people whose posts you’ve liked or posts that are liked by a large number of people in the Instagram community.
If your account is set to private, only your approved followers will be able to see photos you’ve shared in Search & Explore. To see photos and videos that people you follow have liked, or that a large number of people have liked, scroll down to Explore Posts in the Search & Explore interface.
To see accounts you might like, tap Explore People at the top of the page. These recommendations are based on a variety of things, including who you follow, who you’re connected to and what photos and videos you like on Instagram.
For the time being, the revamped Explore tab is available to Instagram users in the United States. Improved search with place search and other enhancements is available everywhere.
The team had a vision that “if we could grow large enough and have a system that allowed people to tag who they were with, they could see what is happening right now,” Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom told Wired.
“We want to be the first place to cover” important developments in your area and have “broad reach to cover the real things happening on the ground,” he added.
Instagram natively supports the iPhone and iPod touch, requires iOS 7.0 or later, is optimized for the iPhone 5/5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen resolutions and includes a WatchKit component with a glance and an app for your Apple Watch.