I look at a lot of images and a lot of Instagram accounts on an almost daily basis. Regularly, I would notice that when a wall feed was opening as I opened "instagram.com", I would notice something peculiar.

Whenever the top post was an image, I would see that the ALT attribute would say something along the lines - "Image may contain : a person" etc. Sometimes there would be different alt text and sometime, there would be something else.

Since I am from an SEO background, I realized that something is really important going on there with the Alt tags. So, I figured I should look deeper. I opened up an Excel sheet and started looking at hundreds of pictures and their alt text. What I found was something really interesting.

To me, it seems that Instagram is trying to work on their image recognition software and it is putting whatever it thinks the image has in the Alt text. This might be really important for Instagram to determine the kind of images and the kind of content an audience engages in. In the long term, it might help segregate an audience and an influencer.

So, here is what I found out today after analyzing a hundred images: -

1. Clouds

Instagram is really good with clouds. Any image that contained even small amounts of cloud was labeled accordingly.

2. Animals

Instagram doesn't recognize animals. In all the images that had animals or other creatures except humans, it was unable to categorize them. The algorithm would instead give information about the background instead of the animal.

The only animal that it seemed to recognize is a dog. Even if there are more than one dogs, they will be shown as just dog.

3. Text

If there is text in an image, it is easily understood by Instagram. I have not tried to see images with weird fonts. However, regular fonts were easily recognized and labeled accordingly.

It recognizes English language and has trouble with any other language.

4. Face

Instagram is good at location FACES in an image. If there is a face that is seen completely, it will be counted as "1 Person". If a face is seen half or is not seen in its entirety, it is dropped from recognition. If there are more than one person, it is tagged as "X people".

Right now, it does not seem to be able to tell if the image has the same person twice. Also, it cannot distinguish if it is a male or a female.

5. Beard

Since it is good at finding faces, it does a really good job of finding people with beard too. Even if it is a small beard, the algorithm would recognize it really well.

6. Children

In some instances, the algorithm does recognize children. In many cases, it just uses the generic "Person" for them.

7. Closeup shots

If a person's face is too big on the screen, Instagram classifies them as closeups. This can be really helpful to identify facial features.

8. Standing or sitting

Along with face, the algorithm also does a pretty decent job of identifying if a person is standing or sitting. If a person's legs are seen straight, the algorithm would say they are standing.

9. Outdoor and Nature

The best thing that the algorithm can identify is Nature. Any time there is any element of Nature, the algorithm would use the tag Outdoor and Nature. Of course, nature is always outdoor, so both the tags go hand in hand.

10. Shoes

If the shoes in an image are properly visible, the algorithm does a pretty decent job to specify them as well.

11. Cars

The car identification algorithm is pretty decent. It identifies most cars except for those that are at a weird angle or in a modified state. The car should be in almost full view. It does not identify portions of a car.

12. Outdoor

Instagram does a really good job of identifying if an image is taken outdoors. If there is enough information that indicate a sky, Instagram classifies that as an outdoor image. Even if an image is indoor, but the sky is visible, it is classified as outdoor.

13. Water

14. Food

Somehow, the algorithm can find food in an image.

15. Table

In many images, I could find there was a table tag which had a table.

16. Coffee Cup

Anything that is in the shape of a glass and has a liquid in it that is in the color of coffee is classified as coffee cup.

17. Eyeglass

If a person is wearing shades, even that is recognized by the algorithm.

18. Drink

Anything that has a straw is identified as drink.

19. Living Room

Somehow it identifies a living room. Probably based on the floor.

20. Jewelry

It can identify some pieces of jewelry. However, it is not very accurate.

21. Ocean

If there is clouds and there is a horizon in the image, I believe it classifies the image as an ocean. Followed by ripples.

22. Sky

23. Pool

24. Tree

If there are trees, it is easy to identify them.

25. Plant

26. Swimming

27. Flower

28. Bedroom

29. Stripes