Why Instagram's Latest Update Is Useful

Photo: Courtesy Instagram.
Earlier this month, Instagram added Stories, which makes the photo-sharing app feel a lot more Snapchat-like. Today, Instagram is making another, albeit smaller, change. And this one capitalizes on something Twitter is good at: events that are happening now.

Instagram is adding a new events video channel in the app's Explore tab. Here, you'll find great videos from concerts, athletic events, and more so you can mitigate some FOMO if you can't be there yourself. So, say you're an Adele fan and she has a concert halfway across the world. You can head to Explore and watch videos from the show as they're being uploaded to Instagram, from Instagrammers you might not have otherwise discovered. It's not quite as good as being there, but it's definitely the next best thing.

Right now, the Explore section (the magnifying glass icon in the app) shows you photos and videos you may like based on who you follow, and what posts you Like. Today's update is an extension of that, but also brings a focus to what's happening in real time (or recent time). Not just any event will pop up in Explore, though. There have to be a certain number of videos posted within 24 hours of the event — and triggers, such as whether a Facebook event was created around it, will also factor in. The latter factor is interesting since Facebook owns Instagram.

Perhaps this development is also a hint that we'll see a Periscope or Facebook Live-like livestreaming feature coming to Instagram in the near future.

The update is U.S.-only for now, and rolls out today.

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