It’s been less than a year since Instagram launched its clone of Snapchat Stories but Instagram’s version of the feature has already eclipsed Snapchat in both size and scale.
Now, with more than 200 million people using Stories every single day, Instagram is making its Stories bigger than ever. The company introduced two new types of Stories on Tuesday: location Stories and hashtag Stories, which together ensure that you’ll never run out of Stories to watch if you don’t want to.
With location-based Stories, which are rolling out to the Instagram app now, users are able to search for any city, town, landmark or local business and see a Story tied that particular location.
Location Stories draws from content Instagram users post to their own Stories, with the app’s location stickers determining which Story or Stories a photo or video may be added to.
Users will know when one of their stories has been shown in a Story by checking their Story views.
Likewise, hashtag stories, which will launch “over the coming weeks” will pull from anyone who posts a photo or video with a hashtag to their Story. Like the location Stories, they will also be personalized to each user based on their interests and habits.
Stories will have the same privacy settings as before, so public-facing Instagram accounts can show up in any location or hashtag Story. People with private accounts may still have snaps from Stories surfaced to their followers.
The new Stories are similar (surprise, surprise) to Snapchat’s recent update that expanded its own Stories with a new search tool, which is available in some cities. Like the Snapchat update before it, Instagram’s new Stories are entirely algorithmic, meaning there are no human editors curating which videos make it into a given Instagram Story.
Instead, Instagram’s algorithms personalize Stories to your interests based on factors like who you’re following and what types of accounts you typically interact with.
“We use a wide range of signals, we have a lot of understanding about what content you like or don’t like. We take a lot of that sort of knowledge and apply that to Stories,” says Instagram Director of Product Blake Barnes.
“One of the things that’s really important for us is that we make sure that this scales to the whole world,” Barnes says. “The only way we can do that the only way we can make sure you see awesome things for every town, for every landmark, for every bar, all around the world is by doing it algorithmically.”
This is different from Snapchat’s approach, which relies on human editors for “Our Stories,” which are promoted more prominently within the app than the algorithmically-created Stories that appear in search.
For Instagram, which has put Stories front and center within its app since the feature’s launch, the update signals that they aren’t done doubling down on the already immensely popular feature. Now, the app stands to lure even more users to its Stories as the feature as users can now effectively find and watch new Stories for as long as they want.