Facebook has rolled out an update to its Messenger.com client for instant messaging that allows users to search for text in individual conversations.
The feature became available to everyone “a few months ago,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. Facebook on the web has had this feature for a few years, and now it’s available in the standalone Messenger web app, too.
The Facebook spokesperson wouldn’t specify whether the feature is coming to Facebook’s Messenger apps for Android, iOS, and Windows 10. But it would be helpful for users who maintain long, ongoing conversations.
There are two ways to access the feature on Messenger.com:
- Click inside the “Search Messenger” box on the left rail of the browser window, and type in a search term, such as “chicken.” You can select contacts, more people, and businesses, or you can click the option at the top of the search results, which says “Search messages for ‘chicken.’” From there, you can see all references to the search term in conversations with all of your friends.
- While you’re in a single conversation — it can be with a single Facebook friend or a group conversation — click the “i” icon in the top right corner of the window to reveal the right rail, which has several options, including the new “Search in Conversation.” Click that, and then type a search term in the “Search messages” box at the top of the conversation. You can toggle between references to your search term with the up and down arrows at the top of the conversation.
The feature works for bots, which have been a big focus area for Facebook’s Messenger platform this year.
It’s possible to search in conversations in Google’s Messenger app for Android, Apple’s Messages app for iOS and macOS, LinkedIn’s web and mobile apps, and Facebook’s own WhatsApp on web and mobile.
Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook-owned Instagram don’t currently have an easy way to search for text in conversations.