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Tech Report – Instagram 3.0

Everyone’s favorite photo-sharing app received a major update yesterday with the release of Instagram 3.0. This is the first significant revision of the app since it became available for Android devices in April of this year, and since Facebook offered up to $1 billion for Instagram later that same month.

At the time of the acquisition, both parties took pains to say that Instagram would continue to be developed independently from Facebook and it appears that they have been as good as their word: there is no special integration with Facebook included in the Instagram app other than the normal social network sharing options.

The most notable feature of the new release is Photo Maps, which enables a user’s geo-tagged photos to be displayed on a map. Instagram demonstrated how this might work in a blog post, also published yesterday. Photos from a surfer, a band on tour, a globe-trotting tourist, and a travelling foodie were all posted on Google Maps, indicating the various locations where each Instagram user’s pictures were taken.

When you navigate to Photo Map for the first time, you’ll be prompted to review photos that have previously been geo-tagged. However, if you don’t want your boss, for example, to see photos of you at the ball park when you were supposed to be at work, then you have the option to remove the geo-tagging data, leaving your photos intact on your profile but not visible on your map.

If you want to tie your photo to a specific location, like a landmark, park, or café, you can do that too. A “Name this location” option will give you a menu of all the notable places that match your geo-tag and you can select the one you want. You can also customize your location by choosing your own name. Photos can removed from your map at any time through an editing button.

As well as Photo Maps, Instagram 3.0 includes a number of tools to improve the browsing experience, as well as a new look for user profiles, the Explore tab, and the photo upload screen.

In what amounts to a coming-of-age of sorts for an increasingly popular social network, Instagram has also introduced simpler ways to flag photos and comments if they are inappropriate or abusive. If you see an inappropriate comment on one of your own photos, then you can drag the comment to a trashcan icon, which will remove the comment and report it in a single action. There are also single-tap options for reporting inappropriate photos or comments on other people’s profiles.

Instagram 3.0 is available for both Apple and Android devices.

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