Facebooks Instant Articles was announced as a way of attempting to speed up webpages on mobile in order to keep users reading and sharing, all without leaving the confines of the social network. Launched for iOS users back in October, Android users have had to wait until today to see the feature in action.
You can recognise Instant Articles in your stream from the small lightning bolt icon in the top right corner of a link preview, these links are pre-cached to appear as quickly as possible. The company is claiming Instant Articles load up to 10 times faster than regular articles and are more likely to be shared.
Facebook has partnered with large content providers for the initial push, with over 350 publishers from around the world currently using Instant Articles. Locally, Facebook has partnered with Fairfax Australia, Fox Sports Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Huffington Post Australia for Instant Articles.
Smaller publishers are invited to sign up to show interest, but at this stage, Facebook is continuing to work only with large scale publishers.
Facebook’s Instant Articles, as well as Apple’s Apple News products are both in part possibly responsible for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project a Google-led open source alternative which trims down web pages and consolidates back-end code to achieve the same result, but on the open web.
Instant Articles has begun rolling out and is available globally for Android users from today onwards.