Instagram's launched Threads for you and your closest pals

Instagram is like a mall now.

To make sure you never leave the app, Instagram has been introducing a range of interface updates and redesigns. In its latest announcement, the Facebook-owned image-based social network says it's adding Threads so that you can stay connected with your extremely online friends through messages, photos, videos, and of course, emoji.

The feature keeps you linked to your Close Friends group and comes with a Status tab that will, per Instagram, "help people keep up to date with and interact with their friends' statuses and stories." Here's a look at it:


Don't feel left out — The company has also announced, "We recently added a new inbox for 'Everyone Else,' so that you can see all your other messages and chat threads on Instagram within Threads. Now, you can take a photo or video and share it to your Instagram story in addition to your Close Friends story directly in the Threads app."

This new change comes just days after Instagram launched an updated Shops and Reels features and brought them to the forefront of the app. So from now on, you can shop within the app and browse through Reels content with ease... all of which takes Instagram ever further away from where it started.

Easier to search — The company also updated its Guides and Search abilities. Initially, Guides came as a "self-care" feature depicting person wellness tips and recommendations. Now it's expected to become more diverse with different kinds of content, presumably decor, makeup, DIY, cooking, and other genres. The Search for Instagram feature is also expected to show keywords in addition to results for people, products, and places.

In addition to this, Instagram recently updated its Live Story limit of an hour to four hours, just like Facebook. Your Live content stays in the Instagram archive for 30 days, after which it's deleted. But that gives you time to download it or otherwise decide what you want to do with it if anything.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the quarantined world's favorite video game, but Instagram is trying its darndest to be the most used COVID-19 app. Of course, it faces tough competition from TikTok, which has just had its U.S. prospects substantially improved thanks to Trump's election loss.

With changes to live stories, the in-app shopping option and newly debuted Reels tab, Close versus Everyone Else story feature, and constantly updated interface, Instagram may be unrecognisable from the app we first used on an iPhone 4, but you've got to give it points for trying to keep things fresh.