Instagram has started offering an update to its search functionality to enable people to use keywords to find content across the platform that is relevant to their interests.
The company announced that English speaking users in six countries – the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – would be able to search the platform using keywords.
It is noteworthy that Instagram users before today can only search for hashtags or accounts. For example, if you previously wanted to search for healthy recipes, you would be able to search for posts that include the hashtag #healthyrecipes or accounts that include various forms of healthy recipes in their names or bio.
In addition, Instagram now allows users to search for the keywords themselves, which means that posts containing healthy recipes should appear, even if the specific tag is missing.
It is not clear how the service identifies the subject of the post. A company spokesperson says the team takes into account a number of factors, including content type, annotations and time of publication, to present relevant findings.
The platform also uses machine learning to find higher-quality content that is appropriate for the user. For now, only network posts will appear.
It is noteworthy that this is a relatively big change to the way content appears, as the option to search through Instagram has always been very limited, and it does not give people the ability to find the posts they want.
And Instagram says certain terms will only be searchable. A spokesperson for the platform explains that the search is limited to general interest topics and keywords that fall within the Instagram community guidelines.
Limited but useful!
In addition, keyword searches are still limited, but useful. It is likely to help users find new content that suits what they want best.
Separately, the company announced that it allows the directory feature to all users, while expanding it to include other types of content as well, such as products, places and posts.
Earlier this year, Instagram launched the Evidence feature, which allowed creators to share tips, resources and other content via a special tab in their user accounts. The evidence was initially limited to a select group of creators who were posting content focused on mental health and well-being.