Instagram Is Looking More and More Like Facebook

With its new "Photos of You" feature, can the app finally turn a profit?
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Instagram just got a bit more Facebook-y, rolling out a new feature that will allow you to add tags to your photos and then search by those tags.

As Instagram explained on its blog:

Today, we're excited to introduce Photos of You and bring you a new way to share and discover stories on Instagram. When you upload a photo to Instagram, you're now able to add people as easily as you add hashtags. Only you can add people to your photos, so you have control over the images you share. And it doesn't stop at people--you can add any account on Instagram, whether it's your best friend, favorite coffee shop or even that adorable dog you follow.

There will now be a Photos of You section on your profile. When someone adds you to a photo, you'll receive a notification and the photo will appear in your Photos of You. Want to make sure you like the photo first? No problem: you can easily adjust your settings so nothing appears on your profile until you approve it. Before your Photos of You section is visible to other people, you'll have until May 16th to play around and get used to the feature. You can find more information about how Photos of You works and how to control your visibility at help.instagram.com.

The video above shows how it will work pretty clearly.

It's easy to see how this will be useful for Instagram users. I'm already looking forward to tagging all my pictures of my friends' kid, so that her parents will have easier access to them in the years ahead (I just need to make her an account first). But the real benefits here are to brands and when brands win, Facebook (Instagram's owner) stands to win. It's no coincidence that the video prominently features someone tagging their pizza. Think of all the food images on Instagram. You can bet brands are looking forward to capitalizing on all the pretty pictures of their goods that you're taking for them. Some way, somehow, these tags are likely going to be put to use targeting ads.

Facebook bought Instagram last year for *a billion dollars* and, as of yet, hasn't generated any profits, according to Robert Cyran in The New York Times. But, Cyran says, prospects are looking up. In the past year, Instagram has doubled its user base, and "Facebook's trajectory in mobile bodes well for the company -- eventually -- to find ways to turn Instagram into cash." With "Photos of You," we can see the company starting to figure that out.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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