Facebook-owned Instagram just made a bunch of third-party web clients obsolete: The popular social image sharing platform added search functionality to its website Monday, allowing users to search for hashtags, locations and user accounts directly on the web. The service also tweaked tag pages to make it easier to discover popular content.
Instagram long focused on its mobile app experience, and initially didn’t make its users’ photos available on the web at all. The service added a very bare-bones web experience at the end of 2012, but still delivered the best experience through its mobile apps.
This led to the launch of a number of third-party websites, including Webstagram and Findgram, that provided tag search and discovery of popular Instagram content. However, Facebook is increasingly looking to monetize Instagram, so it only makes sense for the company to add these features to its own website as well.
Tag search and other discovery-focused features should also make it easier for Instagram to sell ads and attract brands to its platform. Just last week, Instagram hired former Lucky magazine editor Eva Chen to strengthen its ties with the fashion industry and attract more high-quality content that brands can advertise against.