Humans have become pretty good at making life easier for ourselves, going right back to the discovery of fire (🔥) to the digital age, in which machines cater to our (almost) every whim. 

We’re quite the amazing species, when you think about it. Yet astonishingly, it’s taken until now for Instagram to allow us to use keywords to search for stuff.

Previously, we had to blunder around using hashtags as a search method which, as anyone who has ever tried to find anything on Instagram can be like trying to do brain surgery while wearing boxing gloves, because the platform would only look for answers among a user’s name or bio. 

It was inefficient and frustrating. But hurrah! English-speaking people in the UK and Ireland can now use keywords to dig up content, even if it isn’t tagged with the keyword you’re using.  

It’s a smart move by Facebook, which owns Instagram, but if early tests are anything to go by, don’t start hanging out the flags just yet… 

It’s not immediately obvious how the Instagram keyword search identifies what a post is about, and some searches have yielded mixed results. A spokesperson said the tool assesses “a number of factors,” such as the “type of content, captions, when it was posted,” and uses machine learning to “find the highest quality content that’s relevant to you. 

The Instagram keyword search is “limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines,” they added. 

So, you can use keywords to search Instagram posts, but for the moment it’s a very limited – and somewhat frustrating – exercise. We can tell you puppies, pasta and flowers work, but you’ll get nowhere with slightly more controversial keywords, such as vaccine or Trump. 

24 fingers crossed, it won’t be long before the boffins at Instagram work their magic and broaden it out a bit. 

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