Threads by Meta is introducing a new feature aimed at enhancing user experience: a search functionality. Currently under testing in Australia and New Zealand, the company is planning to roll it out to other English-speaking countries soon. Right now, the app only allows users to search for usernames. With the addition of full-text search, the company aims to make finding posts and topics much easier.
The Landscape of Threads by Meta
Launched on July 5, 2023, Threads was conceived as an alternative to Twitter. It aims to attract users dissatisfied with Twitter’s policies and features. The text-based app lets users log in with their Instagram accounts, and offers a host of features like the ability to post text updates of up to 500 characters, links, photos, and videos. Notably, Threads is also compatible with the open ActivityPub protocol, allowing for greater interoperability with other social networks like Mastodon.
Recent Feature Additions
The launch of the search feature comes on the heels of several other new features, such as a following tab, a place for user likes, a reposts tab, and a web version of the platform. Meta seems to be rapidly iterating on Threads to encourage user engagement, which has been falling after an initial surge.
User Reactions and Expectations
User response to the announcement was mixed. While some applauded the step forward, others were less impressed, stating that Threads still lacks several features found in its competitors like Twitter and Mastodon. Popular demands from users include the ability to edit posts, hashtagging, saving drafts, and trending topics.
Concerns and Challenges
Threads faces a few key challenges, including a crowded marketplace filled with Twitter alternatives like Bluesky, Post.News, and Hive. Additionally, there is a general reluctance among users to adopt another social media app, particularly given concerns around Meta’s data privacy practices. Most alarmingly, Threads has seen a significant drop in daily active users, plunging from a peak of 44 million in July to just 8 million, indicating struggles with user retention.
The announcement also coincides with Mastodon rolling out advanced search features, including readily available filters to search for posts with media or look for a post within a specific time frame. The ongoing feature war between Threads and its competitors makes it a space to watch closely in the coming months.
With Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, expressing optimism about Threads’ trajectory, it’s clear the company is investing in improving the basics of the app before focusing on growth and monetization. Whether these iterative updates will be enough to bolster the app’s falling user base remains to be seen.
While the introduction of the search feature in Threads may be a step in the right direction, it’s just one piece in a complex puzzle. As Threads grapples with declining engagement and stiff competition, the real question is whether incremental features will be enough to reclaim lost ground or if a more dramatic overhaul is needed. Either way, Threads is a platform that continues to evolve, and its journey will be of interest to anyone keeping an eye on the future of social media.