Facebook Wants to Keep You Connected on Slow Networks

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Gets An Offline Mode.

The changes will mean that users can comment, share and like posts even when they are offline, with all changes updating when the user connects to the internet again. “People are coming online at a staggering rate in emerging markets, and in most cases they’re doing so on mobile via 2G connections,” product and engineering managers Chris Marra and Alex Sourov wrote in a blog post.

Facebook this week said it will begin rolling out new technology that allows users on slower mobile connections to still see new stories in their News Feed, even when on a poor connection or when they’re unable to reach Facebook’s servers.Through the months, Facebook has been making improvements to its mobile app to enhance user experience and now, the company has introduced more updates to improve the way users work on slower internet connections.

In addition, users will be able to comment on posts when they’re offline, and those comments will be posted to the app when your connection returns. When dealing with a sluggish connection, Facebook will load the user’s previously downloaded stories which haven’t yet been seen, and rank them on the person’s news feed based on each one’s relevance. The company explains that the goal with these changes is to better aid those in developing markets, where they primarily access the social network via phones on slower 2G connections. According to an official post, Facebook is modifying the timeline to show more relevant stories in the News Feed that load even on flaky internet connections.

The way Facebook’s News Feed was originally designed didn’t take into account how these users would struggle when trying to view new content on the network over these lagging connections, however. In addition, engineers who work for the social media giant are looking into how they can keep stories up to date throughout the day, using better internet connections as an opportunity to retrieve and deliver new articles to each user.

This way, Facebook will immediately display relevant stories which haven’t been seen yet, instead of showing a spinner while the user waits for new stories. When they come back online, their News Feeds will automatically receive new stories from Facebook’s server, which will display as they would have normally. Those perusing the service on 4G LTE can browse videos, photo albums, and news stories; folks on slower connections—like Internet.org’s Free Basics—might only see text updates and links.

In September, more than one billion people used Facebook’s site every day on average; however, the firm is determined to expand its brand in several emerging markets, including India and China. “(Facebook) has this big initiative to get everyone on the internet,” Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, told CNBC last month. Then, the app will show you these “new” stories – which are, in reality, those you already download but hadn’t yet reached by scrolling further down your News Feed. In June, the company also launched its Facebook Lite Android app, which consumes less data and works across all network conditions in countries throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe. These comments won’t technically post until you’re back online, of course, but they do at least give you a way to prepare your comments for that time, as well as feel as if you’re using Facebook normally, despite your lack of connection.

At the time of that release, Mark Zuckerberg wrote that Internet.org initiatives had brought more than 6 million people online who previously weren’t. Facebook, Google and other tech giants are working to address this problem with far-out initiatives like drones and high-flying balloons to deliver internet access in areas where it’s lacking.

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