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Instagram releases third major update, adds geo-based browsing

Instagram released the third major update for its mobile app Thursday, introducing a geo-based photo browsing feature.

The new update lets you present your photos in a map view that shows each picture at the location you tagged it when you uploaded to the mobile photo-based social network.

You can also, of course, use the feature to browse your friends’ pictures. Just head to their profile and click on the new button that says “Photo Map” to check it out. Sadly, though, that tab won’t be enabled on your friends’ profile until they download the update and enable the feature.

“One of the biggest problems in social media is that you often post things that are very ephemeral,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told The Verge, explaining that the new map browser will help users revisit older content.

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“Things live for a couple hours and then they float off into the ether,” he said. “You’ve been building this archive of beautiful photos, and we haven’t let you go back and live through them.”

Activating the new feature is no problem at all. After you download the app, you’ll see a notification banner from Instagram at the top of the home stream letting you know about the new feature. Click it and you’ll see a page that shows you information about the new feature. You can click cancel or hit “OK, I understand.” At that point, Instagram will let you choose which pictures you want to include in your map view, and once you get through that, you’re all done.

In the map browser, you can see all your photos stacked up, but as you zoom in, the photos begin unstacking and moving to more accurate locations. You can also click on a stack and Instagram will zoom you in closer. Once you click on a stack with pictures that are all tagged at the same location, the app will show them in a presenter view that lays out the pictures in a table.

Systrom told The Verge that in the future he would like Instagram to include location-based streams where people at a concert or at a landmark such as the Eiffel Tower could find each others’ pictures more easily.

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“All sorts of cool things happen once people use geodata,” he said.

Besides the new map feature, the latest update also includes a redesigned profile screen (to accommodate the new map button), a redesigned upload and other, less visually noticeable changes.

You can find the new update at the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store.

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