Facebook Now Allows Searching For Links Without Shifting To A Web Browser

Facebook Now Allows Searching For Links Without Shifting To A Web Browser
Facebook Johan Larsson / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Facebook has added a new feature on its mobile app that would allow users to find web links without using a web browser. The Facebook update, rolled out on Thursday, will save time and effort.


A small symbol will appear above your phone’s virtual keyboard alongside the “tag friend” option. When you tap on the link, a new screen will pop up where you will be able to search links with keywords.

Once you type the keyword, Facebook will show contents it thinks are relevant. You can now choose and share with your friends.

Facebook said, “We think this feature makes it much simpler to share web links with your friends on mobile, whether it’s an interesting news article, a funny video, or a favorite recipe.” Tom Whitnah, Facebook engineer, also said, “We designed this feature, like most products at Facebook, for rapid data analysis and experimentation.”

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The team took a long time in order to bring the update on the surface. The major concern was how to give priorities to the links. As Whitnah mentions, “One of the biggest challenges was balancing social ranking signals (like whether a link was shared by your friends) with global ranking signals (like how popular a post was and how strongly a query matched its text).”

Though the update is a minor one, it will have impact on the Graph Search feature that was introduced in 2013. Facebook’s searchable index has 1 trillion posts and they have accumulated over years.  Graph Search has become quite useful in providing tuned search results. This update becomes meaningful in this context.