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Instagram updates to 2.5 with 'visual improvements'

In the first upgrade since being bought by Facebook, the photo-sharing app rolls out its 2.5 update for iOS with an Explore tab, speed optimizations, and the option to share Facebook Likes.

Instagram gets faster and brighter today as it rolls out its new 2.5 features for iOS.

Among the new items are a spruced up profile tab, different ways to search, commenting improvements, and visual and speed enhancements. There is also a noticeable Facebook feature that lets users share likes, or little hearts, to Facebook if they want.

Of these new features, the app does seem quite a bit faster with photos loading more quickly. The most noticeable change is the "Explore" tab, which was exchanged for the "Popular" tab and also has a new icon.

According to Instagram, here is what's new in version 2.5.0:

  • Revamped profile tab
  • Search for users and tags in the Explore tab
  • Improvements to commenting
  • User search autocompletes based on people you follow
  • Visual improvements
  • Speed optimizations
  • Optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook)

It's been a busy year for the photo enhancing and sharing app. First it partnered with Hipstamatic in March, and then it released its Android app and was acquired by Facebook in April. It also climbed to the top of iTunes app store charts that month. However, it's been pretty quiet since then and it now holds the sixth place in the app store.

It's not yet clear if and when Instagram for Android will be updated.