Instagram adds web search, letting people look for people, locations and hashtags without app

Site originally launched without a website at all, and has traditionally been slow to get the app's big features

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The Independent Tech

Instagram is finally letting people search on the web, in a step to allow people to join in with the social network without having the app.

The change follows a redesign of the main Instagram.com site last month, which was intended to bring it into line with the mobile apps. Those apps have always had search functions, which power the network’s popular hashtags.

The new search tools should help encourage the use of Instagram embeds, which allows anyone to paste a picture onto their own site and are often used in news and other outlets to illustrate stories. Instagram embeds received 5.3 billion impressions in June 2015, the company said.

When Instagram was launched, it didn’t have a website at all and only ran on an app. The company still describes its website as “complementary to the apps”, but it has become increasingly important as Instagram trends are reflected on other websites, allowing people to see Instagram content from anywhere and allowing the broader web to see content generated there.