Facebook dunks Instagram in new search filter sheep dip

Photo-sharing service comes up smelling of Zuck, seeking ad cash


Facebook has beefed up Instagram's search functions to pull the photo-sharing service into line with the rest of Mark Zuckerberg's siloed empire.

It's hardly a surprising move, given that the announcement comes just weeks after Facebook confirmed plans to blast the photo filter app with ads.

Instagram's revamped search feature has been rolled out worldwide. The outfit said that it had "dramatically improved the ability to find what you're looking for", be that places, people or tags.

Additionally, the photo app's "explore" function has been overhauled, which led some commentators to suggest that Facebook was competing for eyeballs with Twitter by adding (standby for meaningless buzzwords) "real-time trends" to Instagram.

The explore option is only available in the US at present, the firm said.

Facebook bought Instagram for roughly $715m in 2012. Since then, Zuck's company has steadily been releasing more and more apps as it presses its talons deeper into the mobile market, from which the free content ad network now derives most of its revenues.

As The Register revealed last week, Facebook boldly released a new photo app – Moments – that won't be coming to the European Union any time soon because it's loaded with creepy facial recognition technology.

Arguably, that strategy means two things: first, it's a victory for privacy campaigners in Europe and second, Facebook is big enough and brash enough not to care about shunning such a huge market.

As Facebook rolls out more apps, it'll be interesting to see if a pattern emerges where it releases different products for different territories.

Search, though, is key to Facebook's future, as it's this tech that will feed advertisers – its real customers. ®

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