Instagram update: Introduces new features, including Explore tab

instagram update introduces new features including explore tabThings have been a bit on the quiet side at Instagram since it was acquired by Facebook in a $1 billion deal back in April. On Monday, however, the company started to make a few noises again as it rolled out a sizable update to its popular photo-sharing app.

Perhaps the biggest change Instagram fans will notice with the update is the introduction of an Explore tab – at the expense of the Popular tab – allowing you to browse by username and hashtag. However, popular photos can still be viewed below the Explore tab.

The new features, introduced for iOS users of the app, also include improvements to commenting, speed enhancements and visual improvements. You can also optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook).

The Android version of Instagram received a makeover too – though seemingly not as extensive as the iOS update – with the new version also getting the Explore tab, optionally share likes to Facebook feature and a bug fix for loading more comments.

Instagram launched on the iOS platform in October 2010 and quickly became a big hit with iPhone snappers around the world. The free app allows users to add a number of retro effects to their pics before sharing them on the web. Some 50 million people now have the app on their smartphone, a healthy user base that was boosted significantly by its launch on the Android platform in April.