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Instagram may offer a public option for collections à la Pinterest

Instagram isn’t averse to nabbing features from other social media apps. In 2016, for example, it launched Snapchat-like Stories without even bothering to dream up a new name for the feature.

And then in 2017 it launched “collections” à la Pinterest, allowing you to save and organize collections of appealing posts spotted while perusing the popular photo-sharing app.

On Instagram, collections are currently private, but it seems that the Facebook-owned company is now considering allowing users to make their collections public so they can share them with their followers. The feature could also allow others to add content to further expand a collection, which can include anything from top vacation spots and favorite restaurants to snazzy fashion apparel and, of course, cute cats.

The “make collection public” option was spotted in Instagram’s code by expert app researcher Jane Manchun Wong and later verified by TechCrunch. The feature includes a button that lets you choose between making a collection private or public, with the latter allowing the collection creator to open up its curation to other Instagram users.

It appears that the code offers no information about users being able to follow a collection in the same way they can now follow hashtags, though that’s something that could be integrated at any time. Sharing collections might be fun for regular ‘grammers, while brands and celebrities could use them to drive sales and raise profiles.

Instagram said that it’s not currently testing the public collections feature, though this is considered to be a typical statement if a product is being developed internally prior to a trial with select Instagram users.

It’s worth noting that the feature may never see the light of day, but its discovery within the app’s code reveals that the company is certainly interested in exploring the idea of making collections shareable. And the fact that Facebook did the same with its own collections feature toward the end of 2018 means we shouldn’t be surprised if something very similar shows up on Instagram in the coming months.

Pinterest has more than 250 million users, making it a quarter the size of Instagram. If Instagram does make collections public, it’ll be interesting to see what impact this has on Pinterest’s current standing, especially as it’s expected to go public later this year.

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Trevor Mogg
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