Facebook is bringing Instant Articles to its Android app in India today, where the social network counts 130 million users.
Launched in May, the feature brings richly formatted stories along with zoomable images and auto-playing videos to your News Feed and loads them quicker than traditional links right in the app.Publishers who partner with Facebook can host their content on the social network directly, and this means that the stories are loaded within the Facebook app. This means that you can load stories much more quickly, without having to leave the Facebook app at all.
Instant Articles launched in the U.S. on iPhone with the following nine publications: The Atlantic, BBC News, Bild, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, National Geographic, NBC, The New York Times, and Spiegel. That number has since grown to around 20. Facebook Instant Articles has been available to iPhone users since October, when the Android beta started, and the rollout is now happening gradually on Android. For its India launch, Instant Articles has five major publishers on board: India Today, The Quint, Aaj Tak, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express. Facebook will open up its platform to other content outlets early next year.
In theory, it’s a great idea because it allows readers to quickly get to the content they want, and allows publishers to display media-rich content easily, and to cache content so that articles open in moments, even on 2G networks. We are yet to see how ti actually performs on day to day basis.
Bringing Instant Articles to India now that the service is on Android and not just iPhones makes a lot of sense, and the fact that the company has already signed up Indian publishers highlights how it has been getting more involved with India