This week, Instagram launched a new searchable map feature to help users explore popular local businesses and filter them by categories.
New map, who this? 🌐🗺️
Now you can now find popular locations around you or filter by categories like cafes or beauty salons. pic.twitter.com/asQR4MfljC
— Instagram (@instagram) July 19, 2022
To view the map, you can either tap location tags that you see in feed posts or Stories, or search a city or hashtag in Explore.
Users are also able to scan the map to see commonly tagged businesses nearby a location they looked up.
In addition to exploring maps, you can also search through recent Stories and posts of businesses you clicked on. For example, if you tapped on an Italian restaurant you always wanted to try, you can see tagged visuals that other users made at the location while dining out.
The new feature appeals to younger consumers who are increasingly discovering new information on social media platforms. At a recent conference, Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said that younger users are now turning to Instagram and TikTok to find information instead of Google – a search engine so ubiquitous its name was added to the dictionary in 2006 as a verb describing the process of looking for information online.
It’s likely that the new feature will offer advertising and branding opportunities to local businesses in the near future. Instagram has already been working on connecting consumers with businesses, most recently by allowing brands to sell products directly to users via DMs.
Tama Leaver, a professor of Internet Studies at Curtin University, reacted to the news by posting: “Once upon a time Instagram had a maps function that showed a user where all ‘their’ pictures were taken. That disappeared years ago. Now a new map shows nearby businesses. That difference is 100% symbolic of what Meta/Instagram imagines itself to be now.”