Starting today, more than one billion people who have access to Internet.org’s free basic services across Asia, Africa and Latin America will now be able to access more free services through the Free Basics Platform. In May we introduced the Platform as a way for developers to easily create services that integrate with Internet.org, and a way to give people more choice and control over the services they access. Starting today, the Platform is now live.
Over the past few months, developers have adapted their services specifically for the Free Basics Platform requirements, and today, more than 60 new services are available across the 19 countries where free basic services are available. Not only does this expand the range of resources available to people, it gives them more choice and control over the services they can use in the app and website.
The program is making an impact on people’s lives by providing free health, education, and economic information. For instance, SmartBusiness, a website that helps people learn to launch and run a business, now sees 5x more daily searches within their service since launching in South Africa in July, meaning more people are getting access to important economic information. BabyCenter and MAMA both reach millions of people around the globe with vital health information for pregnancy and parenting, including 3.4 million people through Internet.org’s free basics services alone.
Starting today, people using the app or mobile web version can navigate to a menu where they can select which services to add to their list of free services. They can also search for a service by name or description.
Commitment to security and privacy
With Free Basics, Internet.org is making it safer for people to connect to the websites and services they care about by encrypting information wherever possible. Several months ago we announced support for services using HTTPS in the Free Basics Android app, and today, we’re adding support for HTTPS services on the web version as well. And even if the service you access only runs over HTTP, we encrypt that information between our servers and any device that supports HTTPS. Read more about our commitment to security and privacy for Free Basics here.
Free Basics by Facebook
Today we’re also announcing a new name for the app and mobile website — Free Basics by Facebook. We’re making this change to better distinguish the Internet.org initiative from the programs and services we’re providing, including Free Basics. Anyone currently using the app will be able to continue using the Android app, though it will now be called Free Basics by Facebook in Google Play. And the mobile web version, which will redirect from the previous URL, can be accessed at FreeBasics.com.
Developers building for the Platform
If you’re a developer interested in submitting your service to be part of the Free Basics Platform, you can learn more on our developer page here. We’re also clarifying the guidelines for developers building for the Platform to make them simpler after listening to feedback — you can see the updated guidelines here.