Written by Nick Heer.

Instagram Has a New ‘Explore’ Tab

Jessi Hempel, Wired:

First, Instagram will highlight trending places in a box across the top of the screen. The software will show you both the most attention-getting events (Houston flood; Bonnaroo concert) and also things that are close to you (Central Park concert; new restaurant opening). Second, users can scroll sideways to see curated collections of photographs that members of Instagram’s community team cull from the most popular Instagrammers’ feeds. This is where you’ll stumble across your kid skateboarders, say, or remote islands you’ll dream of visiting. Last, Instagram will highlight trending hashtags in the center of the screen, promoting the most popular tags. The bottom third of the screen will look much like it has, surfacing compelling posts, but Instagram’s new design will allow users to move seamlessly from one photo to the next, rather than returning to the Explore page between photos.

This is a huge shift for Instagram’s strategy. What once was Twitter, but for photos, is now — uh, *checks Twitter* — never mind, it’s still Twitter, but for photos. As Twitter has added features for trying to make billions of tweets topical, Instagram has done the same for its photos. Only one catch:

While Explore will initially be available only to US users, Instagram will introduce a more powerful search engine globally.

Yet again, an interesting new feature or product is only available to Americans. Nothing wrong with Americans, mind you, but as a Canadian, this is infinitely frustrating.

But you can now, at long last, search by location, so that’s good.