Facebook Testing 'Add a Link' Feature That Leverages Its Social Search

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Facebook Testing 'Add a Link' Feature That Leverages Its Social Search
Facebook is once again looking to increase the time users spend on its platform, and hoping to reduce their reliance on Google Search, by offering an easier way to link trending articles to status updates and comments.

Confirmed to be in testing, a new Facebook app feature called 'Add a Link' lets users see popular articles they might want to include in their status updates. Apart from the usual option to add images and locations to their status, some iOS users are now seeing the new Add a Link option alongside their status update or comment dialog box.

The Add a Link option lets users find social trending articles relevant to their status update or comments by entering a search query. The results appear to comprise articles that have been well-shared by other Facebook users, with the most recently published given priority over others. The option certainly makes it easier for users to add links without manually searching their News Feed or resorting to a Google query.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook said the new Add a Link feature is currently only available to select users in the United States. The social networking giant added that till date the company has indexed over a trillion links to help users better search for the appropriate content to link to their status updates and comments.

As TechCrunch notes, the move by Facebook has several benefits for the social networking giant. Apart from users spending more time on Facebook while using it as a social search engine, with the Add a Link feature the company gains more posts that it can easily place ads next to. It also gains data on what type of sites and content users as well as their friends like.

The move by Facebook also links to recent reports that the firm is looking to host publishers' content directly on the social network. The Wall Street Journal earlier this month claimed Facebook is tying-up with publishers to promote news consumption on its platform, and could launch the service as early as this month. Said to be called Instant Articles, the reported new programme's launch partners are said to include Buzzfeed, National Geographic, and The New York Times

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