Instagram Search Now Shows Topics, Not Just Accounts or Hashtags

Instagram is making simple browsing easier by integrating topics — what it calls “Interest Search” — into results from searches, greatly expanding the ability to find images and videos beyond hashtags and accounts.

As part of a series where Instagram reveals more about how parts of its system works, the company revealed that it has plans to make search more useful and has already taken a step in this direction by expanding search results beyond hashtags and accounts.

Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri posted a video to Twitter where he explains that at this point, search in Instagram has been a feature that is used primarily to navigate the app, specifically to find an account or go to a hashtag.

“We think there is a lot of amazing content on Instagram that you might want to just browse,” Mosseri says. “So we have been experimenting with what we are internally calling ‘Interests Search.'”

Interests Search is not yet available in every language, but it will show results for topics that are searched in addition to specific accounts and hashtags. In a blog post, Instagram uses “space” as an example. In Interest Search, a search for “space” will first bring up images of space before also allowing searches to look through Accounts, Audio, Tags, and Places.

“These changes make Instagram Search more than just a way to find accounts and hashtags,” the company explains. “We’re moving towards a full search results page experience that makes it even easier to go deep on your interests.”

In his Twitter video, Mosseri shows how the feature will work. When a term is inputted, such as “sushi” in his example, a magnifying glass can show in the results bar for that term, which shows that there is content to browse around that term that is not a specific hashtag or profile.

“You’ll see a grid of content, photos or videos, about sushi which is a pretty cool idea. You can search for a range of topics in a range of languages but we’re still working to expand and we have a lot more work to do,” Mosseri continues.

While he says a range of topics and languages, the Instagram blog only confirms the feature is supported in English, but more languages are coming “in the future.”

Interest Search is already live for all users, and Instagram says that it has additional plans to make search better for exploration in the future.