Facebook is testing an internal search engine for its mobile app, according to a report from TechCrunch. A few iOS users are seeing an "add a link" option next to the buttons to add photos, locations, and feelings. Users can search a keyword in the link function, and Facebook will suggest related news articles to post.
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Posting links to Facebook from a smartphone is unwieldy as it is, so it's likely this change aims to smooth out that process. TechCrunch suggests this update could also be related to Facebook's recent effort to get publishers to post content directly to the site. By hosting content and allowing users to search for stories in its own app, Facebook is making it easy to read and share news without ever actually leaving Facebook.
Facebook is an important distribution avenue for many digital news organizations, and the more it increases the ease with which users can share content, the more it solidifies its standing as a viable content host. And with Google adding tweets and letting users order food from its search results, the bar for what a search engine can do is only getting higher.
Although it's not clear how Facebook's search engine determines the results of each query, TechCrunch reports it seems to be skewed toward a user's frequently visited websites and stories with a high share rate. There's also no word on if or when this update will be available to everyone.