Do we really need Instagram’s new searchable map?

Google Maps has competition.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Aug 6, 2022

Instagram’s been making significant changes over the past couple of months to make its platform more profitable and consumer-directed. One of the latest additions to this end is a new searchable and dynamic map that makes it easier for users to discovers shops, restaurants, hotels, and several other local businesses. This is both an attempt to give visibility to local businesses and to make going to physical spaces more accessible and fun.


Instagram’s map experience previously only consisted of locations tagged in posts. In contrast, users can now search the map, use filtering options, and move the map around to see what other options are nearby thanks to this latest update.


In an Instagram Story, Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced: “We’re introducing a new searchable map on IG today. You can now discover popular local businesses near you and filter by category.”


Competition for Google Maps

Instagram is very quickly becoming a serious contender for young users who use the app to discover businesses, making it a big competition for Google Maps, and other similar search engines.


Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan made the observation that younger users are now frequently using apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes. He pointed out that youthful consumers want to explore content in fresh and engaging ways rather than entering generic keywords such as “shop near me.”


Instagram may be able to further erode Google’s core offerings by introducing a more user-friendly and dynamic map experience by facilitating location discovery within its app.


Users can use the map by filtering categories of the businesses or shops they want to visit. They can tap locations tagged in posts on the Feed or in the Stories. Alternatively, they can search for a city name, place, or neighborhood on the Explore page. The third way that users can use this platform encompassing map is to do a hashtag search for the city or location they’re in and local businesses will come up.


Additionally, Instagram users have the option to save and share locations with friends or groups via direct messages. Users that add stickers or tags to a specific location will make them visible on the map. This update creates an immersive experience that aids in travel and discovery, especially now that traveling is back on the rise.

In other related news, Instagram is testing a full-screen main feed, and in case you missed it, Instagram has announced a full visual rebranding.


Photo via Meta