Instagram just made the world feel a lot smaller.
The new Explore tab is Instagram’s response to the emergence of real-time media sharing apps like Meerkat and Periscope. Users will now be able to see curated content from trending places and topics that range from vacation spots to natural disasters. The goal is to allow people to experience what’s going on in the world around them through the eyes (or smartphones) of others.
Periscope and Meerkat offer the same sort of real-time media sharing, but with two major differences: audience and quality. Instagram has already built a robust network of users that includes some of the biggest brands and influencers in the world. Though Periscope gained 1 million users in its first 10 days, that number is minuscule when compared to the 300 million people using Instagram. Even with the help of its parent company, Twitter, Periscope still has a long way to go before it can truly build a worthwhile network. Meanwhile, Instagram curators have a library of content that grows by 70 million photos and videos every day. Periscope’s considerably smaller network means less quality content to choose from. Though loyal Periscope users would argue that it’s more current because it utilizes live video and Instagram does not, a quick search reveals that most of the live streams involve some dude playing guitar or looking at what’s in his fridge. Not necessarily the most inspiring stuff. While there’s a lot of similar fluff on Instagram, the trending content is curated by a staff that’s trained to look for images that are relevant and compelling.
Thanks to the new explore tab, Instagram made sure that it will still be at the forefront of real-time content on social media. Until Periscope and Meerkat grow their networks and develop libraries of valuable content, Instagram will remain at the top.