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Instagram’s Explore tab now lets you follow trending topics

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Photo via sntgmdm/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

You can now follow events through Instagram.

Instagram is overhauling its Explore tab once again to allow people to find and follow popular images and events through tiny, square photos.

Now, when you tap on the Explore tab, you’ll see trending tags and places, and if you tap on them individually, Instagram aggregates all the posts into one feed. Additionally, Instagram is providing handpicked collections of beautiful photos, ranging from ancient ruins to extreme sports—they are meant to help people discover content in the app they otherwise might have never found.

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With this new update, Instagram appears to be taking a bit of inspiration from ephemeral photo app Snapchat. Snapchat provides Stories, or groups of photos from particular events, holidays, or locations, and lets anyone add their photos to share experiences with the entire Snapchat community. Additionally, brands and media companies can pay to put photos and videos into the “Discover” tab, Snapchat’s most unpopular real estate.

Instagram is throwing its hat in the ring as a contender for live event coverage, joining Twitter and Snapchat as a way to stay updated on live events. June’s update is a complete departure from a 2014 update that put photos and videos popular among friends in the Explore feed instead. Instagram is now focusing once again on popular content in a broad sense, rather than zooming in on your small friend group.

In a blog post, Instagram seemed to throw a bit of shade on Twitter, currently the best place to follow breaking news and events: “Rich visual content captures everyone’s unique take — not just what the community is talking about, but also what they’re doing and seeing.”

In addition to a revamped Explore tab, Instagram also rolled out a new search feature that lets you find posts from people, tags, or places. Say you are planning a trip to San Francisco but are unsure about an itinerary—with Instagram, you can search all photos tagged in San Francisco and find out places worth visiting.

Explore’s updates are only available in the U.S. for now, but the new search feature will be available to everyone that upgrades to Instagram 7.0 on iOS and Android today.

Photo via sntgmdm/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Selena Larson

Selena Larson

Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.