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Facebook launches a new app that allows to browse websites from smartphone without using data

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Facebook launched the trial version of Discover, an application that allows browsing Internet web pages from mobile devices with low bandwidth but without consuming mobile data.

This tool, available through a mobile website and an Android application, seeks to solve the “challenges of affordability, relevance and lack of infrastructure” posed by connectivity in some countries, as reported by Facebook in a statement.

The initiative also seeks to enable users to connect more consistently, while continuing to do so when they exceed the limit of their mobile data plan.

As it does

To do this, Discover uses low bandwidth through the use of a ‘proxy’, which allows light elements and text to be loaded from web pages, but does not support heavier file formats such as audio or video.

Every day, users receive a limited amount of data from their phone operator and are notified when they can use it. People can configure their mobiles if they want so that content not supported by Discover, such as videos, is played using data from their personal plans.

The service treats all web pages the same, including Facebook’s, and provides “strong privacy and transparency protections” for its users, according to the US company.

In this way, Discover encrypts the information between the servers and the device on both HTTP and HTTPS websites, and in this second case, it adds a second certificate to encrypt the traffic between the servers and the developers. Likewise, it does not store the browsing history nor is a Facebook account required.

Where it works

Discover has been developed in collaboration with the telephone operators Bitel, Claro, Entel and Movistar, and it has been launched in a trial version that is currently available only in Peru, and in the next few weeks, it will arrive in Thailand, the Philippines and Iraq.

It is part of Facebook’s Free Basics initiative (formerly known as Internet.org), available in 55 countries, which allows access to certain government and basic service websites without consuming data.

Coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic, Discover will also highlight its users from its main health resources page with information from reliable sources.

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