Instagram’s Twitter/X rival, Threads, is becoming more competitive with the expansion of its keyword search feature to all markets where the app is available. The feature was initially tested in English-speaking markets including Australia and New Zealand in August before expanding to most other English and Spanish-speaking countries, including the U.S. in September. Now, according to Instagram head Adam Mosseri, keyword search will be “supported in all languages.”
That will make the app, now used by nearly 100 million people per month, more useful to a broader, global audience.
The news also comes on the heels of reports that Threads is nearing an E.U. launch. The Wall Street Journal suggested the app may launch the E.U. as soon as next month, noting that it may also launch a view-only mode that would allow users to read posts without creating an account.
Offering search capabilities to E.U. users would be a key aspect of serving that market, where many different languages are spoken. But it also would make Threads more useful to the over 100 countries where the app is now available, beyond the U.S.
The Threads team has been rapidly iterating on the app in response to user feedback, adding features like a chronological following feed, a web app, a way to view your likes, polls, GIFs, hashtag support (without the hash), an edit button, profile switching, and more in the months following its launch. The company has also promised a developer API and plans to integrate with ActivityPub, the decentralized social networking protocol that also powers Mastodon and other networks.
However, Threads has not yet adopted one central feature that drives X: Trending Topics, though it has been spotted in development. In fact, the company seems to want to be a less real-time version of X, as its algorithmic feed often features days-old posts. Mosseri has also directly stated that the company doesn’t aim to amplify news on the platform, differentiating the app from X’s focus on breaking news. That said, many former X users are joining Threads which ultimately may dictate the app’s direction.
In today’s note, Mosseri said that more improvements to search would also be coming soon.
For now, Threads continues blocking terms like “long covid” and related phrases in search, pointing users to the CDC’s website instead for current information.
With nearly 100 million monthly users, Threads is still smaller than X, which has nearly 550 million monthly active users as of September, per X owner Elon Musk. But it’s also not yet available in all the markets that X supports, which limits its growth. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg remains bullish on the app’s potential, recently telling investors that Threads could be Meta’s next billion-person app in a matter of years.