Facebook goes slow with ‘2G Tuesdays’ for developers

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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As part of its effort to develop apps and services for mobile markets worldwide, Facebook has begun giving employees the opportunity to experience for themselves the slow mobile Internet speeds found in developing countries. “2G Tuesdays” are a new weekly occurrence, during which employees connecting to Facebook at work will be asked whether they want to limit their speed to 2G for an hour. “We hope this will help us understand how people with 2G connectivity use our product, so we can address issues and pain points in future builds,” wrote Facebook product manager Chris Marra in a blog post describing the recurring event.In its quest to capture nearly every Internet-connected person on the planet, Facebook is rolling out a new internal program designed to help its staff better understand how users in regions with slowers connections access its site. “People are coming online at a staggering rate in emerging markets and, in most cases, are doing so on mobile via 2G connections,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. “But on the lower end of 2G networks, it can take about two minutes to download a webpage.Since it’s headquartered in the epicenter of technology innovation, Facebook has decided to give its employees a taste of what users in parts of the world with less developed Internet infrastructure experience using the service. To do so, the company is instituting a new initiative, dubbed “2G Tuesdays.” Every Tuesday, when employees log into the Facebook FB -0.54% mobile app, they’ll be prompted to opt into using the social network at a 2G speed — instead of the 3G, 4G, or LTE speed most of us are used to — for the next hour.

It is entirely optional and doesn’t last the full day, but it will let staff who don’t get to travel much to gain a better understanding of the issues that users in far-flung countries face. Still, it may help engineers used to gigabit connections better understand the limitations under which millions are using Facebook — or unable to use it, as the case may be. Given that nearly one billion of Facebook’s monthly active users live outside of the U.S. and Europe, you can argue that this new initiative isn’t just smart… it’s essential. Facebook teams regularly tests the service’s performance on web and mobile apps by taking trips to countries where network conditions aren’t as advanced, and make improvements on page load times, data efficiency, app size, and so on.

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