Instagram v3 launches with a powerful social feature: mapping

Instagram v3 launches with a powerful social feature: mapping

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Instagram has rolled out a v3 of its popular photo app across Apple and Android devices. Alongside some good (and in parts much waited for) UI enhancements, it has launched map-based sorting and discovery of content. This could prove to be an important move for them – maps bring together social and mobile and allow a new (and often more convenient) way of exploring content.

It appears so obvious. Instagram is an app that lets you take photos, add filters that make them look beautiful (even if the original was less so), add a location and then share across your social channels. The location data came from your phone and if you wanted you could then choose the actual named location from Foursquare data. If you also shared them on that platform, the photos were then posted to Foursquare page for the place you were at. Lots of lovely photos, with lots of lovely location data. And all of this hidden from other users.

Putting maps into Instagram was an obvious step. And it adds real benefits – helping you find content based on where you are (or where you are looking at), and creating a more beautiful way of presenting the content you have added.

With more and more content being added every day, social media tools (such as Instagram) face an ongoing battle to make the search and discovery of this content easier and more logical. As more content is added, it risks becoming more difficult to find it. With photos this is even more the case. Text can be searched but photo content cannot be. So we end up with lists to scroll through. Maps take this photo content and give us a more logical way of finding it.

Mapping is becoming ever more important to social media as use of mobile devices for social increases. Location data is captured automatically (and may or may not be displayed depending on privacy settings), and this can add another dimension to any sorting and classifying.

So maps make Instagram complete and solve the search and discovery problems that are inherent (and increasing) in many social media apps. And they potentially add  new competitive nature to the app – you can see other photos people have taken from the very place you are, and so get inspiration or aim to take one that you think is better.