Instagram Stories fights Snapchat by recommending users to follow

You now have a sense of who's making interesting videos besides your friends.

Instagram Stories' feature updates are no longer quite in lockstep with Snapchat's. It's gradually rolling out an update to the Explore section that displays a bar of Stories from people Instagram thinks you want to follow based on both your existing contacts and your favorite topics. The addition could give you extra Stories clips to watch even when your usual Instagram friends aren't up to snuff. The concept isn't entirely new (Snapchat's featured Stories are slightly similar), but it's uniquely tailored to you -- you're not just getting the same editor's picks as everyone else.

The seemingly simple tweak could be important to keeping Instagram Stories in the limelight and reducing Snapchat's first-mover advantage. Instagram tells our TechCrunch friends that 100 million people check out the Explore tab every day. When the social service has over 500 million people, that's a large chunk of the audience seeing videos they'd otherwise have missed. Only a fraction of users are likely to follow others just for the sake of their Stories, of course, but that could be enough to keep you interested in the feature after the novelty wears off.