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Instagram app gets photo map feature & improved browsing functions

Instagram has released a major update for iOS and Android devices that makes browsing through photos a little more interesting.

The latest version of the photo-sharing app, Instagram 3.0, comes with an interactive "photo map" feature that lets users plot where their images were taken. Now, when you click on your own or someone else's profile, you'll not only see a chronological feed of photos, but also a new photo map section, which is essentially a geographic album that highlights were each image was snapped.

Instagram said that with every major release it picks a theme, and this time around the company focused on improving the photo-browsing experience.

"Maps take you beyond recently posted photos and let you rediscover previously Instagrammed memories," Instagram said in a blog post.

The first time you navigate to your photo map, you'll be prompted to select which images you'd like to add. You'll be able to include any photos you have previously uploaded with geolocation turned on. Once you have chosen which images you want to add, simply press done and your map will be visible to others.

Then, the next time you upload a photo to Instagram, make sure the option "add to your photo map" is switched on if you want to include the photo on your map. You can remove photos from your map at any time, and doing so will remove any associated geo-data but leave the photos on your profile.

Besides photo maps, Version 3 also includes speed improvements to make the app faster and more responsive, especially on newer devices, Instagram said. On the security front, users can now report individual comments as abuse or spam.

Profile screens have also been tweaked to display a bigger grid of photos, making it easier to see and browse through images. The photo upload screen will also look a bit different, with a larger text box, which should make it easier to write and edit captions for your snapshots.

The update is available now in the App Store and on Google Play.

The update comes shortly after the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) cleared Facebook's pending acquisition of Instagram. US officials have not yet made a determination.