Today on #TechTuesdays, we’re back to talking about Facebook. “Facebook?” you may be thinking, “What else is there to talk about that hasn’t already been covered?”
The thing about Facebook is that its design and feature set are constantly in flux, maybe more so than any other social media network. And this week, news comes in that will dramatically change the way we use Facebook on our phones and tablets.
Facebook Mobile Search to Get Boost
Mobile link sharing isn’t exactly a fun time. You often have to switch out of your social network, open your web browser and perform a search, copy and paste a web address, then switch apps again to post and share your content. Facebook is aware of the issue and is taking steps to change the way mobile link sharing works on their network via a new “Add A Link” button.
Facebook’s “Add a Link” option is gradually being rolled out on a trial basis to some iOS users. But what does it do?
Instead of having to switch apps and perform web searches outside of Facebook’s walls in order to find shareable content, Facebook’s new “Add A Link” option empowers mobile users by allowing them to make web content searches directly within the app.
How Facebook’s Add A Link Works
Facebook’s new mobile search ability works in a straightforward manner. You navigate to the Facebook search bar just as you would if you were looking up a friend’s name or a Facebook group. However, instead you may choose to search for a topic in the same manner you would search for a topic on Google or another search engine.
Let’s say you’re looking for the latest Apple news ahead of June’s WWDC. Simply type in “Apple” or “WWDC” into Facebook’s search bar and you’ll be presented with a number of matching links that pertain to those topics, complete with their title, a small photo, and a short preview of the article’s content. Once you find the article you like, just one-tap the article’s listing to add it to your status. As usual, you’re still given the option of adding your own comment.
Facebook seems to be presenting articles based upon how recently they’ve been published and how many people have shared the articles in question. The social giant tells TechCrunch they’ve indexed over one trillion posts that their users, including your own Facebook friends, have already shared through the social network. This is data even mighty Google doesn’t have, and Facebook will use it to help users find articles related to their interests as quickly as possible. Further, the more you share articles and the more your friends Like or Share what you’ve posted, the easier it will be for Facebook to present you with individually-tailored search results going forward.
But Wait, There’s More!
Despite already accounting for a whopping 25% of all online social referral traffic, Facebook is hungry for more and already cooking up more search-related changes.
In another move to keep users within the Facebook “walled garden” and to cut down on the need to enter into a separate browser window/tab, The New York Times reports the social media giant is in talks with news content publishers to allow for news content to be displayed directly within the Facebook news feed. This would mean that instead of clicking on an article and having a separate window take you to that publisher’s mobile webpage, the full article content would instead expand directly within your Facebook news feed. National Geographic, BuzzFeed, and The New York Times are among the expected initial partners on this project.
While Facebook faces a number of challenges ahead to get this feature implemented — including the tricky proposition of finalizing ad revenue negotiations with publishers — this is likely to be a trial-based feature mobile Facebook users encounter sooner rather than later.
In the coming weeks there’s bound to be a boatload of new technology news as Apple’s WWDC and other summer technology conferences are held. Keep it with #TechTuesdays, as we’ll be taking a look at everything that’s announced and breaking it down into an easily digest-able format for all our small business owners.