Following the lead of its social-network owner, Instagram today introduced a new photo-tagging feature to let members add people, things, and brands to the photos they upload and share on the service.
The new feature, called "Photos of You," is essentially the photo-sharing service's colorful interpretation on tagging.
App users can tag any Instagram account in their shots -- be it a friend, cat, or burger joint -- during the photo upload process. Those tagged in photos receive notifications and can choose whether to publicly display the images on their own Instagram profiles in a new section aptly titled, "Photos of You."
"When you upload a photo to Instagram, you're now able to add people as easily as you add hashtags," the company wrote in a blog post. "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."
The feature adds a highly personal dimension to Instagram as it turns photo-sharing into more of a group activity.
The company, however, also hopes that Photos of You will help enrich the Instagram experience for its active brands, which also can benefit from the new tags. In the new Photos of You section of their profiles, businesses can now put their best face forward using pictures captured by members of the Instagram community. Instagram brands like Michael Kors, tagged in nearly 900,000 photos with the #michaelkors hashtag, can showcase user-submitted photos that best highlight the designer's product, an Instagram spokesperson told CNET.
Photos of You is available Thursday in the version 3.5 release of Instagram's applications for iOS and Android. Users can download it from the App Store or Google Play Store. Instagram said that members have until May 16 to review the Photos of You section of their profiles before the added area becomes visible to others.