700 million strong and more features than ever

The photo-sharing app and the community it built that’s relatively unknown some 6 years ago is now 700 million strong. That’s no longer news, as that milestone was reached last April, what’s more notable though, are the new (and some copycat) features being rolled out faster by Instagram.

Instagrammers from across the globe got excited as Live Stories finally became available to all users by January, as well as the carousel post originally intended for advertisers, but by February, Instagrammers are able to post up to 10 photos and videos in a single upload.

As Live Stories gained popularity, new stickers were being introduced (some are geo-based, such as that for Brazil’s São Paulo) and then gave users the option to save the live video at the end of the broadcast.

Having set the theme of “kindness” for the Worldwide Instameet 15, Instagram introduced features to keep the community safer and kinder. With this change, Instagrammers will see a screen over sensitive photos and videos when scrolling through a feed or visiting a profile. While these posts don’t necessarily violate Instagram’s guidelines, this means someone in the community has reported them and Instagram has confirmed the post to be of sensitive nature. This allows a better Instagram’ing experience, though you still can see the sensitive content just by tapping to reveal the photo or video. They later added a tool to help people when intimate images are shared on Instagram without their permission. And just as the Philippine Senate approved the Mental Health Act, Instagram has extended this feature with anonymous reporting that aims to help out someone who might be in need of mental support.

By March’s end, Instagrammers woke up to their feed full of profile circles. These are called story rings atop your home feed that lets you watch Instagram Stories from the people you follow.

Instagram launched a revitalized Direct in April, turning it into a more visual interaction with photos and videos, adding texts and re-shares now appearing in the same thread with disappearing photos and videos so Instagrammers can easily go back and forth with friends.

Upon tipping the 200 million Instagrammers who make use of Instagram Stories, hugely-criticized for it being a Snapchat-copycat, new sticker tools were introduced to help users be even more creative, whether sharing a story or having conversations with friends via Direct.

Next up, Instagram allowed not just the saving of posts but organizing them into private collections.

And as if the familiar disappearing stories are not enough, Instagram recently introduced face filters and more, as well as new stickers for fun phrases. Some see this as a move to really bring Snapchat out of business, while most are really impressed with how these new fancy tools are almost flawlessly implemented.

And what we used to call as popular page – where posts with lots of likes or comments used to be shown – the Explore tab in the app became even more functional with the introduction of location and hashtag stories. You’ll now see another story ring at the top of Explore with which you get to see stories happening near your location, essentially gathering stories with location stickers. Interesting is that you can also search for any location anywhere in the world, and you’ll be presented with a story ring for that place at the top of the location page. The same is applied with stories that have hashtag stickers.

Like it or hate it, Instagram’s here for good, even growing steadily with 600 million+ monthly active users and 400 million+ daily active users as of this writing. Stay tuned as we await more features introduced to keep our Instagram’ing more fun and creatively addictive.

Photo by @heysp

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