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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

A Sleeker, Faster Instagram for Android

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Today, we’re excited to announce improvements to the way Instagram for Android looks and feels.

Since first launching Instagram for Android in April of 2012, we’ve come to support thousands of different Android devices of all shapes and sizes. In taking time to polish our designs, we’ve worked to make sure that Instagram feels native and at home on any Android device.

These changes mean a faster, more responsive app. Your profile screen now loads twice as fast, and we’ve cut the overall app size in half to increase speed throughout Instagram.

By making our design cleaner, we’ve also made Instagram for Android easier to use. We’ve simplified our visuals throughout our app, making use of valuable screen space for small devices and feature phones and rearranging our design to keep buttons within easy reach as you navigate the app on a larger device.

It’s the same Instagram for Android you know and love—faster, cleaner and easier to use than ever.

Instagram for Android version 5.1 is available today on Google Play.

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The Week on Instagram | 119

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The Week on Instagram | 118

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The Week on Instagram | 111

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Looking Back with the #TBTs of 2013

Want to see more blasts from the past or share a nostalgic photo or video of your own? Post with or browse the #TBT and #throwbackthursday hashtags.

With over 127 million posts shared using the #TBT (#throwbackthursday) hashtag, it’s little wonder that #TBT came in as one of the most-used hashtags of 2013 on Instagram. Throwback Thursdays provide Instagrammers with a weekly opportunity to share a special moment from the past. As this year has shown, the trend has expanded and attracted participation from actors, musicians, sports stars and even US First Lady Michelle Obama. To celebrate this trend and the moments of the past it commemorates, we’ve selected a few stand-out #TBT photos from 2013.

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Capturing the Moments of 2013 on Instagram

To see more photos and videos of events from around the world in 2013, browse blog posts with the Current Events tag.

In 2013, people used Instagram to not only document and share the world around them, but also capture some of the most memorable moments of the year.

From opening a window into the clean-up operation in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan to hosting the first InstaMeets at the White House and in Russia, here are some of the top moments on Instagram from 2013:

  1. Catholics bid farewell to Pope Benedict XVI and welcome Pope Francis
  2. Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square and revolt against President Morsi
  3. @joemcnallyphoto snaps a #fromwhereistand from atop the Burj Khalifa
  4. People document the for the US Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage in California
  5. Instagram celebrates the marriage of @robinmay and @matthewjay, the first known couple to wed after meeting on Instagram
  6. @dguttenfelder, @drewkelly and others share moments from North Korea
  7. Russia sees its first InstaMeet, as does the White House
  8. The world welcomes the birth of Prince George, and another celebrity baby makes her debut.
  9. Michelle Obama joins the #tbt (#ThrowbackThursday) bandwagon
  10. Kobe Bryant walks again
  11. People document the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction in the Philippines
  12. Batkid saves San Francisco as crowds document his adventure with the #sfbatkid hashtag
  13. Crowds gather to mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela and celebrate his life

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Top Locations on Instagram in 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s once again time to look back on another amazing year on Instagram. It’s inspiring to see moments shared from all around the world, whether it’s a photo from your hometown or a video from your vacation. We took a look at the location trends to find the most-Instagrammed places of 2013.

Like last year, a popular location in Thailand tops the list. The Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน)—a massive shopping complex, movie theater and aquarium in Bangkok—was our top spot, edging out 2012’s most-Instagrammed place, Bangkok’s International Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport dropped to number nine, while the Eiffel Tower dropped off the top-ten list altogether. (See more from last year’s list here.)

New to the most-popular list in 2013: Walt Disney World, High Line and Central Park in New York City and the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.

The Most-Instagrammed Locations of 2013

  1. Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน) shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Times Square, New York
  3. Disneyland, California
  4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
  5. Disney World Florida
  6. Staples Center, Los Angeles
  7. Central Park, New York
  8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
  9. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ, Bangkok, Thailand
  10. The High Line, New York

In the course of the past year, we’ve seen Instagram continue to grow across the globe. We’ve been amazed to see the community thrive in places like Indonesia, Russia and Brazil. 60% of Instagrammers are now sharing photos and videos from outside of the United States, so we wanted to also share the most-Instagrammed cities in the world.

The Most-Instagrammed Cities of 2013

  1. New York City, NY, USA
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Los Angeles, CA, USA
  4. London, UK
  5. São Paulo, Brazil
  6. Moscow, Russia
  7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  8. San Diego, CA, USA
  9. Las Vegas, NV, USA
  10. San Francisco, CA, USA

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Introducing Instagram Direct

Watch Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom announce Instagram Direct on our livestream video here.

Today, we’re excited to bring you Instagram Direct, a new way to send photo and video messages to friends.

Over the past three years, the Instagram community has grown to over 150 million people capturing and sharing moments all around the globe. As we’ve grown, Instagram has evolved not only into a community of photographers, but also into a means of visual communication. From a photo of your daily coffee to a sunrise shared from the top of a mountain hike, every Instagram moment contains something you find special—something you broadcast to your followers when you tap “share.”

There are, however, moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people—an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments.

From how you capture photos and videos to the way you start conversations through likes and comments, we built Instagram Direct to feel natural to the Instagram experience you already know. When you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed. Tap it to open your inbox where you’ll see photos and videos that people have sent to you. To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens. At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done.

After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation unfolds.

Photos and videos that you receive from people you follow will appear immediately. If someone you’re not following sends you a photo or video on Instagram, it will go to your requests so you can decide if you want to view it.

To learn more about Instagram Direct, check out help.instagram.com.

Instagram for iOS version 5.0 is available today for download in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 5.0 is available today on Google Play. Instagram for Windows Phone is in beta. Stay tuned for future updates.