Facebook is testing its own in-app search engine, which TechCrunch reports is now live for a select test group of users. This search engine is capable of crawling the web and retrieving content for Facebook users without the need for them to visit Google.
This new feature will be an extension of Facebook’s status updates. When creating a status update the option to “add a link” will appear next to the existing options of adding a photo or tagging a location.
When you click on “add a link” you will then be able to search for content by keywords and preview it right there in the Facebook app. When you’ve found the piece of content you want to share you can instantly add the link to your status.
The in-app search engine works by crawling through over one trillion indexed posts that users have shared on the network. When searching for content, Facebook will return results based on most shared links.
Facebook’s search engine has the potential to detract traffic from Google, because users currently have use third party search engines to find content, or go directly to the website itself to grab the link.
Now Facebook has eliminated the need for users to venture elsewhere to find content, which could put a dent in Google’s US search queries over time.
A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed that this search engine is in the works, but did not add any further details. Again, this feature is only live right now for select US users, and there’s no word on when it will be rolled out to a wider audience.