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Facebook Opens Its Mobile App To Google Search

November 16, 2015 - Written By Matthew Humphress

In an uncustomary agreement, Alphabet Inc. has announced Facebook is now allowing  Google to index its mobile app. This represents a nearly unfathomable shift in Facebook’s history of keeping Google’s web crawlers out of its domain. It is generally accepted that Facebook’s primary goal is to keep users within the Facebook ecosystem, as such it has positioned itself as a direct rival to Google in online advertisement, and they have been known to compete in social networking, news, photo sharing and storage, and many other online markets. This is a big win for Google, which finds itself constantly trying to keep its Search features fresh and relevant.

With the introduction of Google Now On Tap, a feature new to Android in its version 6.0 (Marshmallow), we have seen the search company put a focus on contextual searching within apps. Apps have been the heart of modern mobile ecosystems. Google knows that if they are to stay relevant Search needs to adapt to how mobile computing is evolving. This means being able to index, search, and reference all the information users have across their numerous apps. It is important to get all the popular apps on board with the company’s indexing —and apps don’t come any more popular than Facebook.

Obviously, the dominant social network isn’t handing over its valued data without coming out of the agreement with something beneficial. Facebook has implied that the decision was made because it offers convenience to users of the Facebook App. Now when public Facebook content appears in mobile search results, selecting that content will send users straight into the Facebook app. This creates a win-win scenario between the two companies, as well as between the companies and their users. Google can now show relevant public Facebook content on searches made on mobile phones, and in doing so it creates new relevant portals into the Facebook ecosystem. It is important to restate that this is a mobile deal, and Google is only being permitted to access content that is public to begin with. Facebook still offers its own search features that give users the more tailored results that can only be had by having an account.