Menlo Park, California – As part of Facebook’s efforts to provide a better user experience, Instant Articles is now available on Android. The new feature allows people to have Instant Articles in News Feed from more than 350 publishers worldwide, which means users won’t have to leave the site anymore if they want to read the news. The media content will be directly published to Facebook, which claims to load 10-times faster than any external link. The functionality was first launched for iOS in October.
Users will have access to Instant Articles once they download the latest version of the social media app.
“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,” the company wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
Whereas Google is still the world’s most-viewed website, the social network firm is the largest driver of traffic to news sites, according to a study published in August by Parse.ly. From the 400 outlets studied, including Google, Reuters and The Atlantic, about 43% of traffic comes from Facebook, as it has dramatically increased its influence as online media traffic driver. In January 2014, it accounted for just 20% of all traffic to its network of media sites.
As for the benefits to publishers who sign up, they are now able to share their content in real-time with thousands of people. They can sell and embed advertisements within the article, keeping all of the revenue, or let Facebook sell ads – so they don’t lose revenue as they sign up. More than 100 publishers are sharing news daily and many others are joining Instant Articles each day.
Although most of the 350 outlets are based in the United States, Facebook remarks several international media channels in its blog post. In fact, the product image published to the press presents an India Today article displayed on an Android phone.
Given that users in developing countries struggle with their internet connection, Facebook is working on functionalities that are accessible to them. This is an important issue to the company, since its employees even have “2G Tuesdays” at the office, so they can experience slow data speeds in order to better understand how it works in the developing world. Instant Articles will certainly be successful worldwide because news articles load very quickly as they are hosted within the app.
This is just an example of Facebook’s idea of providing as many services as possible within its platform so that users spend more time in the network, which allows Mark Zuckerberg’s company to serve more adverts.