Always looking for ways to stay innovative, the social networking giant Facebook has begun testing out a new search engine and instant news feature which could put it in direct competition with Google.
With a new feature called “add a link”, users can now add links to their post. According to Josh Constine of TechCrunch, when you add a link Facebook will show a list of matching links you might want to share, allow you to preview what’s on those sites, and let you tap one to add it to your status with a caption or share statement.
It is currently being tested out on the iOS and, if successful, could put the social media site in direct competition with Google which is so far the biggest player in internet search, including on mobile devices. It could also mean new opportunities for SEO companies, such as the 100k Factory, which at present concentrate exclusively on Google’s products for their online marketing offerings.
Users who are part of the test see a new “add a link” icon alongside options to add a location or photo to posts. After selecting the link icon, users can search for links that have already been shared on Facebook.
Along with the search engine feature, Facebook has begun testing on its long rumored plan to host content from news sites
The New York Times reports that Facebook has partnered with nine media companies to directly host news articles from their websites on the social media platform.
This will allow the links to articles to load faster, since the users stays on Facebook instead of following the link to the host website.
News publishers can either sell advertisements through the article or allow Facebook to sell ads themselves.
According to Vivian Schiller, a former NBC and New York Times executive, news publishers have to cooperate with Facebook because “That’s where the audience is.”
With a reported base of 1.4 billion users through the first quarter of 2015 according to Statista, an online statistics portal that tracks online data for businesses and governments.
The news feature has been bantered around for months. In March, Facebook began partnering with organizations such as National Geographic, BuzzFeed, and The New York Times to start testing on the new feature.
The feature will not only allow articles to load faster, but will give the user the feeling of viewing the publisher’s printed work, with a space age twist.
Facebook product designer Mike Matas, speaking to Vindu Goel of the New York Times described an article published by NBC News about California almond growers as seeing “living, breathing photographs becoming video.” Pictures appear in high resolution, and videos play automatically, with some pictures including embedded audio describing the photo for the reader.
This new feature is currently available only on iPhone, with no announcement for Android systems yet.