Facebook is reportedly testing a new web browser for mobile, essentially ensuring that users will never have to leave the app in order to find what they're looking for.
In fact, according to recent reports, the company has been testing the new mobile feature for at least a few months, and has pushed out the update to a number of users already.
The new app should act more of a replacement for other mobile browsers than previous Facebook app web browser features have. For example, when a user clicks on a link, the page will open up within the Facebook app, but users cannot input their own URL to navigate to a new page. With the upgraded version, users will be able to enter a URL to be taken to a new page straight from the app.
A bar at the bottom of the screen will also show users how popular a particular page is, as well as offer forward and back buttons, and a way to save pages as bookmarks.
While these are all great features, reports indicate that the browser will not have support for tabs, which has become a very helpful feature for most users.
The move is an interesting one for Facebook, especially in contrast to Instant Articles, which are basically bare-bones renderings of articles that are stored on Facebook servers, aimed at reducing load times for users who click on them. The ultimate goal for Facebook, however, is clear – it wants users to never have to leave the Facebook app.
Currently, Facebook has only pushed out the update to a select group of users. However, it is likely that it will roll out the feature to all users over the next few months.