Something we don’t realize is that a large portion of people access the web primarily through their free data offers. What this means is that Facebook is their only access point to the information which circulates around the internet. This can be bad if you consider that Facebook doesn’t always offer the most reliable articles, or that it depends on the viral quality of certain sources.
Without the option to use google or other web browsers, there is no other way to verify what you see on Facebook. Some people get around this by searching on topics when they arrive home. Others get their friends or family to look up information for them. But there is a huge chunk of people who most likely take what they see.
A Facebook user realized how problematic this could be and created a solution.
Last week, a relative PM-ed me in Messenger and asked me to Google something for her. I did and then sent her a link and…
His chatbot works as a search engine within Facebook messenger. You can access the bot by searching up “Free Web Search” on the messenger app.
All you have to do is send in your query and it replies with a number of results.
It even works as a “primitive web browser”, meaning you send in the link of any site and it responds with the text-only version of the website.
Unfortunately, the bot has a limit on the number of searches it can do as of the moment. So its creator, Miko Santos, has set up a crowdfunding campaign for the maintenance costs. He implores: “Even if you personally do not need this service, thousands of others do. So if you find this initiative worthwhile, please express your gratitude by helping it run for as long as possible.”
This is such a cool innovation. What other features do you think the bot could use to improve?