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Instagram hits 500 million users, sees 95 million posts per day

Today’s magic number is… 500 million! That’s how many people are now using Instagram, the photo-sharing/social media app. Half a billion users puts Instagram in rare company, surpassing Twitter’s user base and joining Facebook, WhatsApp and WeChat in the elite club. Instagram says users share more than 95 million photos and videos each day, and typically, users spend over 20 minutes a day on the app. Or perhaps more.

Along the way, Instagram has picked up advertisers as well, and is on track to pull in $1.5 billion this year. We were shocked when Facebook dropped a billion dollars to buy Instagram back in 2012, when it had 22 million users and just 13 employees. That’s looking pretty much like a genius move right about now.

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More from the world of image and video sharing: Vine, the six-second video app, has been out of the spotlight lately as other video sharing services like Periscope, Facebook instant video, Snapchat and others have gotten popular. But a new feature that allows 140-second videos may help bring it more love from users. Vine is owned by Twitter, thus the 140-second time limit, because… 140 characters…

Anyway, the new limit is rolling out today to “certain users” (aka: Vine celebrities) but if the new format proves popular, expect your Vine app to update to the new limit sooner than later. Meanwhile, the 6-second limit remains for most of us, but here’s a quick note: you’ll also be able to upload 140-second videos to Twitter, as well.

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Even more photo news, this time from Apple. Apple’s MacOS/OS X “Photos” app can recognize faces – but you probably knew that. But did you know it can also recognize expressions on those faces? Indeed it can, including greedy, disgust, neutral, scream, smiling, surprise, and suspicious. And, you can search through faces with those terms. It will also sort photos by 33 categories of memories, like “last week” or “area of interest” and so on.

Oh, and in case you are looking to find a certain “something” in a photo, it will also respond to searches for over 4,000 different object and scenes. Sadly, “winning lottery numbers” is not among the search terms. Maybe in the next version.