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(Pocket-lint) - Instagram is finally introducing the ability to finely search by keyword, thanks to a new software update.

The company has announced to The Verge that English-speaking users in six countries - including the UK, US, Ireland, and Canada - can search the platform using keywords. Previously, you could only search for posts by entering hashtags or user account handles into the search bar.

So, for instance, if you wanted to find “fashion” on Instagram, you could only search for posts tagged #fashion or accounts with “fashion” in their name or bio.

Starting 17 November 2020, Instagram will now let you search for keywords - so posts that feature "fashion" - even without a hashtag - should appear.

Instagram said it uses a number of factors to determine what's relevant and worth surfacing when you search by keywords - including the type of content, the captions, and when the post was published. It also uses machine learning to “find the highest quality content that’s relevant to you".

This is a major change that should make the service much easier to use when it comes to finding posts for a specific reason. However, the feature appears to be in beta of sorts, as only certain terms are now searchable, including "general interest topics and keywords" within Instagram’s community guidelines.

We already tried looking up animals and food and were able to find related posts, but more granular subjects, like “Biden", did not serve up anything.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 18 November 2020.