Facebook’s New “Add A Link” Feature Goes After Google’s Lunch

Everything You Need to Know about Facebook’s New ‘Add A Link’ Feature

There is no denying it: sharing links to articles when using a smartphone could be a lot easier. Sharing a link on social media sites from a mobile device is an awkward ordeal of app switching and copy-and-paste. Luckily, Facebook is hoping to make mobile app sharing a little bit easier. The social media giant is testing out an innovative in-app keyword search engine that would make it easy for users to find websites and articles relevant to their status updates. Instead of copy/pasting urls into Facebook status updates, you’ll be able to simply tap the new “Add Link” button, search for the topic you want to share, then tap to insert a relevant article.

This new feature is currently being tested among a select group of beta iOS users in the United States, who are now seeing a new “add a link” option alongside options to add a photo or location to a status update. Once you’ve typed a query into this new add a link option, Facebook will show you a selection of links and websites relevant to your search.

“We’re piloting a new way to add a link that’s been shared on Facebook to your posts and comments,” the company confirmed in a statement.

Experts say this feature could prove to be a goldmine as Facebook claims they have indexed over 1 trillion posts to let people search for links that have been shared with them. By indexing articles themselves, Facebook becomes a search engine of their own powered by data that Google doesn’t have access to, theoretically eliminating the need to “Google” something at all.

Furthermore, others have speculated that this new feature will up the rates of link sharing by making it easier and more convenient. With more link sharing comes more data about Facebook users — which is good news for publishers considering that Facebook drives a staggering 25 percent of all social clicks (compared than less than 1 percent for Twitter).

It provides a host of structured data regarding what kind of news and publishers you as a user care about. It can also help gauge the likes and interests of your friends depending on whether they opt to like or share your story. The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook might give publishers 100 percent of ad revenue if they sell what’s shown next to the articles.

This new feature meshes well with Facebook’s planned hosted content feature, which would take content from publishers and distribute it natively in users’ news feeds as opposed to making users click out and wait for mobile webpages to load. The bottom line? It looks like content is becoming increasingly important to Facebook’s strategy.