It looks like Facebook might be giving Google a run for its money with a new in-app search feature. Facebook’s new “search engine” would allow users to enter search terms when updating a status and select from a drop down menu of links. That way, users never have to leave the social network to find a link that they want to post.
Recently, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the existence of the search feature to TechCrunch.”We’re piloting a new way to add a link that’s been shared on Facebook to your posts and comments,” Facebook said. It turns out this new “way to add a link” looks a whole lot like a search engine instead of just another small new feature that Facebook added in its latest update.
The idea is that while users currently need to exit Facebook to post external links, using either Google or copying and pasting straight from a source, this new feature would allow Facebook to integrate search into its own app and keep the search results in house. The addition of search in Facebook could mean huge advertising revenue for the company, if the feature takes off.
Randomly selected beta users in the United States will begin seeing “add a link” as an option next to their Facebook status fields in the mobile app. It sounds simple enough, but what edge could Facebook possibly have on a search engine giant like Google? Well, social media is one of the most awesome powers of data collection that man has ever created, and Facebook leads the pack in that department. Facebook has indexed innumerable of posts and determined the most popular links being shared, so instead of providing users with a random assortment of links, Facebook can make suggestions.
Jack Kent, a senior mobile analyst at IHS, spoke with CNBC about the idea.”If you look at Facebook’s progress over the last few years, the real growth has been in its mobile advertising revenue,” he said. “That means that Facebook’s mobile advertising growth will put pressure on Google. And anything which keeps people inside Facebook with an experience that means that you don’t need Google would put pressure on Google.”
It’s unclear exactly how the search function will work, or when it will roll out to all users, but the start of beta testing hints that it should be coming soon.