Facebook has launched a new service (not new for the US and Europe users though), named as “Instant Articles” for Android users in India. The service was first launched in the US and Europe, exclusively for iPhone users. The social media giant has collaborated with publications such as India Today, The Quint, Aaj Tak, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express. The service is in its initial roll-out phase in India, and it is expected to reach most of the users by the end of this year.
It is not a surprise that Facebook chose India as the third base for the service. India has more than 130 million active users on Facebook, and 90 percent of the users access Facebook through their smartphones. Same goes for launching it for Android as well because India has a major chunk of smartphone users using Android OS rather than Apple's iOS.
The service enables users to read news stories at a glance, which is touted to be ten times faster than reading on a regular platform. The partner publishers will be contributing different news stories with images, auto-play videos, maps, and audio captions, and much more. These stories are marked with a lightning bolt on the top right corner to distinguish them from normal stories in the news feed.
Commenting about Facebook's Instant Articles, Andy Mitchell, Director, News and Global Media Partnerships said, ”We’re excited to be working with The Indian Express to bring their great and proven journalism to people in India with Instant Articles. Instant Articles is a great fit for Indian Express’ growing digital brand and its blend of great storytelling and young/intelligent audience. We look forward to working with them to scale the product on Android,”
For the service in the US and Europe, Facebook had partnered with big publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.