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Instagram gives its mobile site a major upgrade, adds photo sharing, Explore tab

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Far be it from Instagram to abandon its mobile roots, but the photo-sharing app certainly isn’t averse to some edits of its own, especially when that means reaching a larger user base.

The Facebook-owned social network recently gave its mobile website a huge upgrade, adding some of the most important components of its app, including photo sharing and even a stripped-down version of the Explore tab. That means that users in countries with slower networks (think India, parts of Africa, and other high-population but relatively low-tech regions) will be able to access the joys of Instagram, even if they can’t download the full app.

Previously, logging onto the mobile version of didn’t offer all that much functionality. Options were more or less limited to looking around — you could follow, search, and check out your notification center, but you couldn’t post anything. While you still can’t post from the desktop version of the website, that’s no longer true of the mobile site. Beginning in March, Instagram slowly began to introduce sharing, as well as the Explore tab, to its mobile version.

Keep in mind that you still can’t upload videos or send direct messages, but it certainly seems as though Instagram is getting closer to making its service a bit friendlier to areas of the world with expensive data and spotty connections. After all, parent company Facebook has proven just how useful lightweight versions of its apps are, so it comes as little wonder that Instagram is (sort of) following suit.

As Instagram told TechCrunch, “ (accessed from mobile) is a web experience optimized for mobile phones. It’s designed to help people have a fuller experience on Instagram no matter what device or network they are on.”

So are we going to see an Instagram Lite in the coming months or year? Only time will tell.

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