Instagram testing new features in its iOS app

The latest Instagram update (7.13), beside adding 3D-touch functionality, appears to have hidden unfinished features in the app’s Search tab.

The screen appearing briefly after pressing the Search button.

By pressing the Search button, the app, before leading to the usual Discover People/Explore Posts screen, briefly shows a screen introducing a new Explore Videos feature (on top) that shows a list of videos related to the users’ tastes, and a new Popular Hashtags feature (Hashtag Popolari, center), showing the latest trending hashtags.

This new features will be placed over the usual Explore Posts (Esplora i Post) section.

The scrolling list of videos.

The Explore Videos features is already functioning, showing a list of videos apparently selected according to each user’s interests, likes or shared followers.

The videos can be watched in sequence and shared to contacts (Condividi). A button links to the original post (Visualizza Post), where the user can eventually like or comment it (see picture below).

This “accidental screen” looks more like a mistake in the code, but nonetheless gives some hints at something coming soon.

Video reproducing (left), sharing button and link to original post (right).

Both features seem to introduce a new app experience for the user: the Popular Hashtags as useful tool to know and be updated with the latest trends, the Explore Videos to improve the use and posting of videos.

Why so?

First of all, by making videos more popular and easy to browse, Instagram can ultimately attract new investors to its advertising platform, and submit more engaging content to the users. But secondly, both popular hashtags and videos are means to stream real-time content, helping users to follow trends and fact, therefore potentially making the Instagram app an alternative media sharing platform (directly competing with Twitter).

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