Update: Facebook tells TNW that it isn’t currently offering Graph Search products to developers at this point:

“Graph Search is a beta product that we are rolling out slowly to help people find content on Facebook. Currently, we do not offer APIs for Graph Search and don’t offer any developer products related to Graph Search. While we hope to have a version of Graph Search for developers at some point in the future, this is still some ways off.”

The NYT has corrected its article to explain that it “misidentified a Facebook product discussed at a developers conference. It was a social search feature, but it was not Graph Search.”

Our original post is as published below…

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Facebook may be on the cusp of introducing Graph Search to third-party mobile apps after the New York Times reported that the company is encouraging developers to include the social feature in their apps.

The social network’s own help pages explain that Graph Search is “only available as a limited preview on desktop for people using Facebook in English at this time,” but an NYT article suggests the company is hatching ambitious plans:

At an invitation-only mobile developers conference at Facebook on Thursday, the day after reports emerged that Snapchat had rejected its offer, Facebook product managers pushed mobile developers to incorporate the company’s new social features into their products, which would help it spread its tendrils.

Back in October, 9to5Mac cited sources who claimed Facebook was testing a new mobile app that integrated Graph Search to bring together users with similar likes, but it seems like the feature will also launch in third-party apps.

It’s not exactly clear how it would work, but Graph Search could enable developers to introduce features that let users share scores, play together and generally enhance the viral potential of apps and games. Messaging apps are already dabbling in this space with plenty of success, offering developers an alternative channel through which to reach users and monetize their apps.

One example is Line, a Japanese app that includes a ‘connected’ games platform that offers over 30 titles that monetize using in-app purchases. Line’s messaging app has more than 280 million registered users and recorded net sales of $99 million for its last quarter of business.

In North America, Canada’s Kik Messenger recently opened its HTLM5 content platform to developers — one app recorded 1 million downloads in under 24 hours — while Tango, a messaging app with over 150 million registered users, has offered connected games since June and recently introduced Spotify-powered music clip sharing.

Facebook leveraged its social graph with great success on the desktop so it is inevitable that it will try to replicate that on mobile. The only question is when.

Image via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images