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Facebook testing in-house search engine

Facebook wants to kill off links, but before it can integrate all types of content on the social network it wants to make users share more content throughout Facebook, for higher engagement and retention rates.

It will achieve this through a new search engine, allowing users to look through over a trillion posts and share a link. The link will feature photos, video and text description, making it more integrated than a normal third-party link to another site.

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The search system is already available to some iOS users in the US, although we don't know when it will come to the UK.

Facebook is banking on users sharing content from other sites, but keeping the conversation on the social network. That way, even if YouTube is getting an additional video view, it is through the network and the conversation is happening on a page.

It is also a preliminary step to integrating news articles, third-party video players and other sources of content onto Facebook. Having this broad range of accessible content should boost Facebook’s retention rate per day, hoping to reach the abnormal levels of apps like Tinder that boast 77 minutes per day from the average user.

For now, users will be able to ‘Add A Link’ to status updates, but we suspect in the future this will be rolled out to Facebook Messenger, through its own platform of apps.

It is Facebook’s second stab at search, the first in 2013 failing to meet its expectations. Graph Search was a big deal for Facebook; CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to offer social search unlike Google’s own search engine.

The issue with Graph Search is it wasn’t heavily used by the 1.3 billion Facebook users, and lead to an early retirement. Hopefully, this new link search will not meet the same fate, although with Bing search as its default we cannot expect too much.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.