Instagram has received an update for the first time since Facebook snapped up the popular photo-filter app in a $1 billion deal back in April of this year. The upgrade has been rolled out on both the iOS and Android versions of the application, which is now available as version 2.5 and 1.1.4.
The changes themselves are hardly groundbreaking, with the most notable being the replacement of the old “Popular” tab with an “Explore” tab, and the addition of a new compass-style icon that leads users to the highest ranked snapshots.
So far, the explore feature isn’t that great, with search options limited to hashtags and users, although it does leave the door open for further updates. For example, the ability to narrow down photo searches to specific locations and times would mark a real evolution in terms of photo discovery, and the technology to add these kinds of features already exists.
Also updated is the “Profile” tab, which now sports a much cleaner look, while the developers have added the ability to search for tags and users in the “Explore” tab. Other changes include a souped-up speed optimization, and improved commenting features, according to the description in the iTunes store.
One final new addition, which only appears to be available on the iOS version at present, is the option to share “likes” with Facebook via the Open Graph option. iPhone users can now post all of the likes they have made directly to their Facebook accounts without needing to exit the app.
The iOS Instagram has also streamlined the process of puling photos into the app from the phone’s camera roll. What used to be a two-click process can now be achieved by simply tapping and holding the camera button, taking users directly to the app.
Instagram’s latest update comes at a busy time for the app. Having partnered with Hipstamatic back in March to bring more photo options for users, Instagram then launced its Android version just days before its surprise acquisition by Facebook, which took place in the same month that it reached its 50 million downloads milestone.