It turns out that today has been dubbed new Story day. Just an hour after Snapchat dropped its new custom Story update, Instagram has announced two new types of Stories of its own. Granted, the timing isn't so surprising when you consider how competitive the two platforms are with each other. But this time, Instagram's update is different from Snapchat's addition.
Starting today, you'll be able to see location-based Stories and, in the coming weeks, hashtag Stories on Instagram. The basic gist is this: Add a hashtag or location sticker to an individual Story post, and it may be randomly selected to be part of a larger Story that anyone on Instagram can view. (Note: If your account is private, your post won't be chosen.)
When you click the hashtag or location sticker in someone else's Story, you'll be taken to a page full of posts from the same location or with the same hashtag. From there, you can access the larger Story (and fall further and further down the Instagram rabbit hole).
Both hashtag and location Stories are an extension of Instagram's Explore tab, which makes it easy to see what users beyond your immediate group of friends are posting on the same topics or at the same places. Location Stories, in particular, will be a major asset for travelers. Want an inside peek at city's offerings before going? Just search for the city to see and find out where locals and other tourists are eating, shopping, and staying.