Facebook, in an effort to promote its free basics program, has introduced a new app called Discover. This app allows users to browse any website using the daily balance of free data given by mobile operators. Discover is currently in the testing phase and is being tested in Peru, one of more than 55 countries where free basics are available. The development was shared by Facebook on its blog page where it was shared that Discover supports low bandwidth traffic while using only free data.
“With Discover, we are looking for ways to help people stay on the Internet constantly. Many Internet users around the world are routinely left out of the Internet for some time to end their data balance. Discover is designed to help bridge these gaps and keep people connected until they can repurchase the data, ”Yoav Zeevi, Product Manager, said in a blog post.
Facebook will assess how search can help people use their regular data balance and support Internet adoption.” Discover is mobile web and Android app and so far, there is no information about the app’s availability on iOS devices.
The post also stated that amidst the coronavirus public health crisis, it is important to explore ways in which people can stay connected and receive health information, along with other resources on the internet. Therefore, Discover’s homepage will have coronavirus health resources to provide accurate health information.
How it works
Discover enables people to browse text on any website using free daily data. This free data is provided by participating operators and Facebook has partnered with Bitel, Claro, Entel and Movistar for this. As of now, Free Basics only includes websites that are submitted by developers and have to meet Facebook’s technical criteria. However, the purpose of Discover is to allow users to browse text versions of any website. To make this possible, web traffic is routed through the Discover proxy and “temporarily decrypted to remove video, audio, and other high-bandwidth content” that may not be supported. Facebook states that information can be accessed wherever possible between its own server and any device that supports HTTPS.
The company also states that Discover does not store people’s browsing history in relation to them and that browsing activity is not used to push targeted advertisements or to suggest to friends. Interestingly, Facebook account is not required to use the app.