Facebook launches Instant Articles on Android

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Instant Articles Finally Come to Android.

The service launched this year for Apple devices allows users to quickly view news articles which are hosted on the fast network of the world’s biggest social network. “We’ve been beta testing Instant Articles for Android with a small group of people on Facebook for several weeks, and as we saw on iPhone, the faster, richer reading experience inspires people on Android to share Instant Articles with their friends more often than they do with standard web articles,” said Facebook product manager Michael Reckhow. “More than 350 publications around the world have already joined the Instant Articles program to date, and more than 100 are already publishing daily—with more joining each day.” Some of the publications joining the service include the Straits Times of Singapore; India Times, France’s Le Parisien and Paris Match; Germany’s Spiegel; Britain’s Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Mail; La Nacion of Argentina and dozens of US and Canadian news outlets. Some analysts have expressed concern that Facebook’s program and similar offerings from Google and others could mean media organizations lose control of their audiences and content.

In October, everyone using the iPhone app became able to read thousands of them from the News Feed on a daily basis, and now Android users can do the same. Facebook gives publishers 100% of the revenue from ads that run inside the service, while taking a reported 30% of revenue from ads it sells against it. Beyond loading quickly, Instant Articles offer publishers some other interesting functionality such as autoplay videos that begin as readers scroll, the ability to zoom in on photos while tilting the phone, the ability to like and comment on individual photos and videos in a story, geo-tagged images, and swipable photo galleries. Stateside, a shortlist of participating Instant Articles publishers includes CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC News, CBS News and Rolling Stone. Facebook claims Instant Articles are more widely shared than conventional links, an attempt to assuage the fears of publishers who feel they are increasingly beholden to a third-party company for traffic, and thus, revenue.

Users are pushed to a full screen experience where Android’s top bar is replaced with a back button at the left and a share button on the top right corner. An August study revealed Facebook as the largest driver of traffic to news sites, with nearly 43% of traffic from the 400 outlets studied coming from Facebook. Unlike Facebook’s offering — and Apple News — AMP is designed to work across multiple platforms, is open-sourced, and available to any publisher that wants to participate. So far, 4,500 developers have started following the project on Google’s Github repository, while 250 contributions of code and documentation have come in, according to the search giant. Facebook’s restrictions on ads and absorption of content have resulted in the tech and media industries banning together to form the Accelerated Mobile Pages project.

Facebook has put much of its recent effort toward making its products better for developing markets, where broadband and data speeds are slow and more users are on mobile than desktop.

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