Facebook has been reportedly testing a new in-app browser that means users don’t have to leave the app while looking at web pages.
The current browser, which most of us are still using until Facebook rolls out an update, looks like this:
The new browser looks like this:
Apart from the look, tech news site The Next Web (TNW) reported several new features the in-app browser offers.
While the current browser only allows you to see a single web page and follow links to other sites, the new one allows you to input other URLs into the search bar.
This is helpful for people who want to look up a fact or word, or even follow a train of thought without having to switch to a different app.
The new browser also includes allows you to back and forth between pages, bookmark a page, and a menu button likely to include additional features.
A bar on the bottom of the page also tells you how popular a post is.
The new features allow the Facebook app and its browser to become a singular entity, which stops users from having to leave the app to get a normal browsing experience.
Facebook regularly tries out new features with a small number of users, and sometimes drops them if they don't succeed. Currently, it appears that the new browser is only being tested on a small group of iOS users.
However, it would make sense if Facebook rolled out the in-app browser to everyone at some point in the future - given their recent introduction of Instant Articles, and their ambitions for the Messenger app to become an all-in-one online communications service, the company wants to make sure that users spend as much time on Facebook as possible. Letting them browse the internet within the Facebook app is a logical next step.
Facebook has confirmed the new browser, but made no mention of when users can expect it.. A Facebook spokesperson said: "We are testing design changes to the Facebook in-app broser so people can more easily navigate and view stories on Facebook."