Searching for specific content on Instagram is about to get way more straightforward. On Nov. 17, Instagram announced the addition of search terms to its Explore page functionality. In the past, you could only search for an account name, a hashtag, or location, and the results could only yield algorithmically relevant results. The new feature has turned the search bar into a proper search engine that can find untagged content, meaning you'll get access to way more results.
For example, in the past, a search for "baking recipes" would only surface accounts with those terms in the user name, or locations or hashtags that had been attached to those exact words. Now, a search for "baking recipes" will pool together public posts that have baking recipes, even if they are not literally tagged as such. While hashtags might remain one of the most reliable ways to find hyper-specific content, the broadening of the search feature will give you more ways to find what you're looking for. Meaning, instead of having to think like a computer to find content you're interested in, the app will now do more of the computing for you.
This update joins a few other new features that the app has debuted this week, including a Reels tab and a Shop tab on the main home page. While Reels and Shop already had a residency in the Explore page, users were surprised by the features' more committed presence in the home screen — there's already a Change.org petition to go back to the old navigation menu.
In a company blog post, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said that redesigning the classic interface to accommodate Shop and Reels was not a decision the app made lightly, and one that they hope will enhance the user experience. Now you can shop and connect with brands and small businesses all on one place, and find Reels from your favorite creators in one place, rather then digging for these features elsewhere. While Mosseri says the IG team is excited about the new updates and confident in their utility, the note ends saying, "We’ll continue listening to your feedback so we can keep improving Instagram for you."
In the meantime, if your search capabilities have not yet been expanded, head to the App Store and update Instagram. You'll know you're on the latest version of the app if you see a Reels icon and a Shop icon in the menu bar, and if your search results are a tapestry of keyword-rich content.