Facebook began testing Instant Articles for Android users across India back in November 2015. The company has now announced its global roll-out for devices running on Google’s mobile OS. The service is already available to iOS users in the US and Western Europe.
Since India in one of the biggest markets for Android and also houses Facebook’s second largest fan base, it makes sense for the tech giant to have released it here initially. Instant Articles are news posts published directly on the social networking site.
Facebook started testing it in India with five sources covering The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, India Today, The Quint and Aaj Tak. It has currently enlisted 350 publishers across the world. 100 of these are already posting news on a daily basis.
Instant Articles appear within users’ News Feed. They are claimed to load about 10 times faster than external links. Essentially, this is because the company will be hosting the content on its servers. Facebook has been working hard to be the go-to source of news, for a very long time.
Twitter is still favored as the place to be for breaking stories. But the social network has become a force to reckon with over the past year or so. The facts and figures might get a little confusing sometimes. At the same time, more and more news sites are getting their traffic from Facebook.
Instant Articles is the company’s attempt to keep users on its site. It accommodates high resolution images, auto-playing videos, audio captions, interactive maps, in-line comments and so on. The service is available to Android and iPhone users who have installed the Facebook app.
The ultimate goal is to turn Facebook into a sort of customized newspaper. Meanwhile, Google is still the biggest source of search and web traffic referrals in general. For the present.