Instagram Engineering

We’re sharing the tools + techniques we’ve learned in bringing photo-sharing to millions of people

Latest articles

Scaling the Datagram Team

If you’ve been following our recent product launches and posts, you may be curious about how our data infrastructure team functions and how it has grown to support the new products and experiences on Instagram. We operate a very lean team - only 20  engineers supporting Search, Explore, Trending, Account Suggestions, and Data Infrastructure - and have...

Search Architecture

Instagram is in the fortunate position to be a small company within the infrastructure of a much larger one. When it makes sense, we leverage resources to leapfrog into experiences that have taken Facebook ten years to build. Facebook’s search infrastructure, Unicorn, is a social-graph-aware search engine that has scaled to indexes containing trillions...

Trending at Instagram

With last week’s Search and Explore launch, we introduced the ability to easily find interesting moments on Instagram as they happen in the world. The trending hashtags and places you see in Explore surface some of the best, most popular content from across the community, and pull from places and accounts you might not have seen otherwise. Building...

C++ Futures at Instagram

Over the past few months, we’ve built two high-performing recommendation services that handle tens of thousands of queries per second and generate tens of millions connections per day. In this blog post, we want to share our experience of scaling these two services using Futures and, most importantly, how we fine-tuned the details.The first recommendation...

Emojineering Part 2: Implementing Hashtag Emoji

Today’s post is a continuation of Part 1 on emoji semantics. 🙀🔝Last week, Instagram began supporting emoji characters inside of hashtags. On Friday we talked about the rise in emoji usage on Instagram and how to discover the semantics of text. Today’s post will focus on the engineering details of implementing emoji hashtags — a seemingly simple regular...

Emojineering Part 1: Machine Learning for Emoji Trends

🆒🆕In October 2011, Apple added the emoji keyboard to iOS as an international keyboard. Since then, digital language has evolved such that nearly half of comments and captions on Instagram contain emoji characters. And earlier this week, Instagram also added support for emoji characters in hashtags, which allows people to tag and search content with...

Improving Comment Rendering on Android

Last weekend, thousands of Instagrammers from all over the world got together for Worldwide InstaMeet 11, one of Instagram’s community-organized, real-world meetups. #WWIM11 was our largest and most geographically diverse InstaMeet ever - thousands of Instagrammers from Muscat to Bushwick shared over 100k photos.With over 300 million people around the...

Migrating from AWS to AWS

In an earlier blog post, we gave a high level description of our migration from AWS to FB data centers. What follows is an in-depth analysis of how we migrated thousands of running AWS EC2 instances into Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) in the span of 3 weeks with no downtime. It was extremely meticulous work, and it required the development of...

Building a better Instagram app for Android

Android is a huge ecosystem, with more than 1 billion active users spanning thousands of different device models. People who use Android have an incredible amount of choice, with significant variations in speed, feature set, and cost. Screen size is the most obvious variable – popular Android devices span from 240 x 320 to 1080 x 1920 pixels, a 27-fold...

Fast, auto-generated streaming JSON parsing for Android

The Instagram engineering team is constantly looking at how we can improve the speed, reliability and overall performance of the app. One of the things we wanted to improve is how quickly people using the Android app can view “News” in their Instagram feed—the place you go to see when people tag you, like or comment on one of your posts, or even to...

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