Facebook has announced that it has begun the testing process for its own in-app search engine that would allow users to search the web without having to leave the Facebook app on their smartphones or tablets. Like Google, this Facebook search engine is capable of crawling through web content and retrieving information based on search terms and phrases, and will form part of the new status update functionality in one of the forthcoming updates for the Facebook app.
How will it work?
When users tap the status update to write their content, they will be asked if they want to add a link to their content, and then will be directed to the Facebook search engine. Once you’ve found your link using the search engine, it can be automatically added to your status update, after which you will be returned to the content creation box. However, it adds another layer of functionality that at present Google is unable to offer its users. As well as crawling the internet for content, the Facebook search engine will also be able to search through Facebook status updates, finding the most commonly posted and shared links on the site, which can then be added to your status update with a couple of taps.
Google vs. Facebook
Many SEO, social media, and online marketing experts are seeing the release of this functionality as a direct response to the recent integration deal struck by Google and Twitter, which allows Google to index tweets in real-time as they are posted on the site – but could it really be a serious threat to Google? Although we are expecting it not to have the same power as the Google search engine, or access to as much content, it is predicted that the roll-out of this in-app search engine could divert traffic away from Google; why would you leave the app to conduct a Google search when you can do it even easier in Facebook?
So when can we expect to see this feature roll out in the UK? It is currently being live tested with a select number of Facebook users in the USA, so we might not see it appearing in our apps for some time.