When Instagram announced last month that it is enabling two key features on its popular app, ie the Explore Page and the new Search function, it seemed like its providing users a quick and easy way to connect to other users sharing content of common interest.
However, given that more than 70 million photos are shared on the social platform everyday, the two functions are basically the simplest methods for enabling the huge repository of images stored on the platform to be put to good use. The Explore Page function, which mimics Twitter trending function, allows users to find, via the use of tags and trending information, photos relevant to a particular event, topic or activity. This enables real-time discovery and online engagement, and ensures that all the information that would have otherwise been buried under billions of images, is now easily accessible to those seeking out such information.
Meanwhile, Instagram’s new Search function takes the task of mining the huge reservoir of big data a step further. The new function which combines search of places, people and tags allows users to ‘peer in at just about any location on earth, allowing (them) to scout out (their) next vacation spot in the South Pacific, get a look inside that hot new restaurant or experience (their) favorite music festival — even if (they) couldn’t make it this year’, said Instagram.
Both the Explore Page and the Search features which are delivered based on simple end-user tagging, and which boast highly optimized user interfaces are examples of how, without the need of APIs and other special database access, effective tagging and efficient search tools can enable a lot of crowd-sourced information, including rich media content to reach users who can benefit tremendously from the joint effort of millions of users who tirelessly enrich the digital reservoirs of today’s social media platforms.
This is perhaps a timely illustration of how big data can be put into use and why simple analytical tools can help extract a huge value, especially at a time when enterprises are looking to create value out of the heaps of information they collect throughout their business processes and operations.