So in summary...
..it's WAP? Remember that kids?
Also anyone find it ironic that internet.org itself is so image heavy?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined criticism of Facebook's Internet.org project, saying it runs "a real risk" of turning the few websites that Zuck & Co. select, "including, of course, Facebook itself", into a "ghetto" for poor internet users – instead of being a stepping stone to the full WWW. The EFF is quick to …
I see the value coming from 2 directions
1) Today's poorest are tomorrows outsourcing locations
A bit of investment now gains you a huge market share for those groups most likely to have big percentage increases in income in the future. A group who will be very easy to profile by the gatekeepers because all the traffic is in plain text.
2) Chance to become de facto communications provider
A bit of investment now means you already have a network in place ready for expansion as a poor country starts to increase it's communications requirements as it takes on outsourcing work for the 1st world, why use a local company when Internet.org already has a fledgling comms network in place and serving people in exactly the sort of locations outsourcers are likely to want a comms network.
I still struggle to see what facebook get out of this, can't imagine the worlds poorest appeal to many advertisers and as the percentage of FB users that fall into that group increases wont advertisers lose interest?
>Implying that anyone outside of the Marketing Ddept. cares about Ad's...
"I still struggle to see what facebook get out of this..."
It's very much akin to Apple's early strategy of lowball targeting to the educational market. Basically: "If they learn about it through our stuff, they'll want to use more of our stuff because it's familiar."
In Apple's case, it was hardware. In Farcebook's case, it's services.
Is this not just a case of doing what they would do to the rest of the internet if they could go back in time? or is this what they are testing to eventually do to everyone anyway?
Put everyone on a business/government sponsored proxy for full control of the internets and data by forcing all isp's to route through them then ban all vpn traffic to external networks.(won't somebody think of the children and terrorists, obviously not together). I'm guessing the app that connects to internet.borg™ has many permissions to slurp the rest of the users data as well.
...is something which takes anything from anywhere, strips the bloat and excess and delivers that to bandwidth-limited customers for free - A proxy which turns any web content into a mobile-tailored site.
Done altruistically, transparently, without trying to profit or create lock-in or monopoly through that, I can't see too much of a problem. I'd probably not even complain if the service carried discreet "sponsored by" ads; that's the price of 'free' and the option to nothing.
That's not however what facebook seem to be angling for.
And given that a good chunk of Internet bloat these days is part and parcel with the site itself, trying to strip out the bloat ends up stripping out the site itself. And without a profit motive, how will this be paid for? Ads are out due to bandwidth (third-world internet is slow enough that an image can be a pain) and a lack of potential customers (if they had money, they'd roll their own Internet pipelines).
And given that a good chunk of Internet bloat these days is part and parcel with the site itself, trying to strip out the bloat ends up stripping out the site itself.
If businesses and content providers can't tailor sites to suit their audience that's their problem.
"If businesses and content providers can't tailor sites to suit their audience that's their problem."
Thing is, the Third World usually isn't their audience. It's the First World, and First-Worlders are jaded; they've seen it all, so you need to present something that attracts their attention. If they really wanted to attract the Third World, they can just create a subdomain for them with a lower HTML compliance, much as there are mobile subdomains better suited for smartphones.
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...that would be Central Africa values of "poor", which I hope we can all agree qualifies.
What I've seen is that Internet access as such is not a problem.¹ You just stroll down² to the local internet café (remember those?), get connected, and you can spend hours browsing YouTube and posting updates on Farcebook and doing all the time wasting stuff that people do on the internet. The connection will not be the fastest³, and there will be a noticeable latency as it will almost certainly be a VSAT link, but for the rest it's not that different from what we had maybe 10 years ago.
Except the local web.
And that's where the problem lies: it's easy to consume global content from even the poorest place in the world. But that doesn't help much. What would help is having the infrastructure so as to improve local online communications, so that local communities could interact online more, in ways that are adapted to the their socio-cultural context.
¹ For local values of "not a problem", which intersect a large part of the set of values known to us as "catastrophe".
² Might be a few hours' stroll, but down there nobody is ever in a rush.
³ See (²).
"What do you sell to someone who has nothing with as likely as not absolutely NO INFRASTRUCTURE in place to get said things shipped to? A place where things like Electricity, and indoor plumbing. Are almost at mythic proportions?"
Ahem, I believe Sears & Roebuck sold literally everything under those conditions in early 20th century USA.
They built America's first retail empire.
I started off in the mid nineties as a web developer, so I don't really get the point of internet.org. I may be phenomenally naive but we designed for slow connections from the outset (because that's all there were). We also designed code to last.
If anyone wanted to take a big step forward, an RFC dictating network capability or analysis and a website designed for high and low bandwidths would be the answer rather than boxing people into a proprietary system. It's either that or smack designers round the head with a set of sensible old school low bandwidth or disabled text accessibility guideline.
In fact any fool could code a php page to present a transparent png to a browser, measure the request/ delivery time and subsequently shift low bandwidth users to an alternate view of a site (be better if server based and setting an environment variable though). Now that's published there goes prior art, so it's open source, yeah.
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