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 – namely: the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – will be able to search the platform using keywords.
Before today, Instagram users could 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.
Instagram now allows users to search for keywords themselves, which means posts containing healthy recipes should appear, even if the specific tag is missing.
It is not clear how the service determines the subject of the post, and a spokesperson for the company says: The team takes into account a number of factors, including the type of content, annotations and time of publication, to present the relevant results.
The platform also uses machine learning to find the highest quality content suitable for the user. At the moment only network posts will appear.
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.
Instagram says: There are certain terms that will be searchable only, and the spokesperson of the platform explains that the search is limited to topics of general interest and keywords that fall within the guidelines of the Instagram community.
Keyword research is still limited, but useful, and likely to help users find new content that fits 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.
Instagram earlier this year launched the Evidence feature, which allowed creators to share tips, resources, and other content via a special tab on 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.