Keyword search is coming to Instagram

Instagram Enables Keyword-Based Search 
for Select Users, Guides Rolling Out for All

Instagram has been offering the ability to search hashtags and accounts in Search.

© Instagram

It’s unclear how the service determines what a post is about, though. My search for healthy recipes yielded gluten-free and paleo cookie recipes, for example, which likely isn’t what someone is trying to find when they search for healthy recipes.

A company spokesperson says the team considers “a number of factors,” including the “type of content, captions, when it was posted,” and more to surface relevant results. It also uses machine learning to “find the highest quality content that’s relevant to you.” For now, only grid posts will show up.

This is a relatively big change for surfacing content. Instagram has always been frustratingly limited in giving people the ability to find the posts they really want. Instagram says only certain terms will be searchable, though. “The search is limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines,” the spokesperson says.

My keyword search is already live, and I’m unable to search for “vaccines,” “QAnon,” or even “Trump” or “Biden.” I can search “puppies,” “pasta,” or “flowers,” however. The search is definitely limited. Still, for the seemingly few benign things people can search for, the keywords are useful and will likely help users find new content that better fits what they want.

This is because it's probably the first step taken by Instagram to improve its internal search, which is currently very limited. Content creators will also benefit from this, as keywords search will enable their posts to feature in results even if the specific tag is not attached.

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