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Instagram’s updated Explore feature takes on Twitter with focus on real-time events

instagram update focuses on live events
Instagram

Instagram has revamped the Explore feature of its app to improve discovery of events around the world as they happen.

The move to focus on surfacing unfolding events – which could include anything from major breaking news stories to somewhat more gentle affairs such as Father’s Day – narrows the gap between Instagram and Twitter, which last week announced its upcoming Project Lightning feature that’ll enable users to more easily follow live events via feeds curated by people with newsroom backgrounds.

Until now, Facebook-owned Instagram says there hasn’t been a simple way to find real-time events, a situation that’s led it to entirely reimagine its Explore page. Now featuring trending Tags and trending Places, users can more easily discover photos and videos for events around the world as they’re happening.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal about Instagram’s growing interest in covering unfolding events, company CEO Kevin Systrom said, “People are hungry for what’s happening right now in the world. All of us in social media and regular media, we’re all competing for the same thing, which is this gap between something happening in the world and you knowing about it.”

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The top of the Explore page also now shows up regularly updated curated collections “featuring interesting accounts and places, from musicians and extreme athletes to stunning architecture and gorgeous beaches,” Instagram says.

The revamped Explore feature is currently available only for U.S.-based Instagram users, though it shouldn’t be too long before all Instagrammers have a chance to try it out.

Everyone, however, can start making use of the app’s overhauled search function, which the company says it’s improved “dramatically” with new features and algorithms.

You can grab the update now via iTunes or Google Play.