Facebook is testing more offline features for Android users on spotty connections

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Working on Improving News Feeds For Slower Connections.

In a blogpost Facebook’s team wrote, “Our mission with News Feed is to connect people with the stories that matter most to them, but if people’s News Feeds aren’t loading because of poor internet connection, we can’t show them the most relevant stories. Facebook is constantly testing ways to make its experience smoother — and addictive — for users, and wants to address users in developing markets who may be using its app on shaky connections.Facebook announced late Wednesday that it’s testing tweaks to its news feed on mobile that will help the user experience with slower connections, especially on 2G.Facebook on Thursday announced that it is testing changes to News Feed to improve user experience regardless of the device or internet connection being used.

People are coming online at a staggering rate in emerging markets and, in most cases, are doing so on mobile via 2G connections.” Facebook says they will show relevant stories in the News Feed, particularly on slow internet connections and that users can now also compose comments on posts when offline. The cached items will still be displayed by relevance, and will replace the spinning icon that is typically displayed as the user waits for new posts to load.

The blog post explains, “We are now testing an update in which we look at all the previously downloaded stories present on your phone that you have not yet viewed, and rank them based on their relevance. When we receive new stories from the server when you’re back online, we load and rank those stories normally.” Beyond that, Facebook is also enabling users to comment on stories when they’re offline, bringing commenting in line with the already-existing offline capabilities for liking and sharing posts. The app will also “periodically retrieve new stories” in the background when the user has a good connection (I’m assuming this means Wi-Fi, but it wasn’t specifically stated). Instead of loading only fresh content when your connection is slow, News Feed will first fetch posts from the last time it downloaded stories for you. Republication or redistribution of content provided by EconoTimes is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of EconoTimes, except for personal and non-commercial use.

Neither EconoTimes nor its third party suppliers shall be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Facebook says it’s rolling these out ‘over time’, but hasn’t indicated exactly when it’ll arrive worldwide and whether it’s restricted to Android, as most similar News Feed optimizations usually are. This particular project, for instance, has been in the works since at least October, where the company put out a preliminary but fairly similar blog post describing how it would cache content offline to make the experience better for people on spotty connections.

It also developed a “Network Connection Class”, an open source project to help the app determine a user’s connection quality and adjust the News Feed’s cached items accordingly. In January this year, Facebook rolled out Facebook Lite, a lightweight Android version of the full app, to eight countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

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