Facebook has found a solution to the problem of the slow loading of content when Internet connections are weak. The U.S. firm has updated its News Feed to load faster on devices with slow connections.
Tackling weak Internet connections
With the update, News Feeds will be now able to pull up stories even when there is no Internet connection, such as on a subway. It will do so by recalling the articles and content that loaded when the user visited Facebook the last time but did not click on them.
The social network has developed an open source Network Connection Class, which makes it possible for the app to determine the speed of the connection a user is on. The strength of Internet connections largely determines the ability of the Facebook app to select articles, pictures and videos to load.
Now the News Feed selects content that is easier and faster to load, such as text articles or posts, when the Internet connection is weak. Facebook says that it is now using a progressive JPEG image format, which gives lower-quality views even when it is still downloading. This saves time as one doesn’t have to wait to view the image but does have to compromise on quality.
Facebook needs more users
Citing Facebook’s employees in India, Facebook’s director of engineering, Tom Alison, said the slow connectivity there often made the experience of using the Facebook app a frustrating one. Following such complaints, the U.S. firm sent a team to India with the aim of delivering faster News Feed experiences in areas with weak connections. “News Feed is a product you tend to want to check regularly throughout the day, and that’s not possible when it’s slow to load,” the executive said.
For Facebook, the U.S. and Western European markets have largely become saturated, therefore, it is making efforts to get more users in developing economies such as India, Brazil and Mexico. Users in emerging markets have access to weak 2G connections that make the loading of content with more data, such as pictures and videos, difficult.
Facebook aims to bring another billion people to its platform, and for this, it needs to design more such features that work seamlessly, independent of the type of device and network.