Everything you need to know about Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to get the globe online

6 things you need to know about mark zuckerbergs plans bring web connectivity a global scale internet

It was only last month when Facebook partnered with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, and Samsung and came out with Internet.org, an initiative geared towards providing people with no connectivity affordable mobile access to the Web. This week, in an effort to outline the partnership’s intent of prioritizing efficiency when it comes to providing Internet connectivity to the world, Facebook, Qualcomm, and Ericsson co-authored and released a white paper through the Internet.org website. 

In the 70-page document, both Qualcomm and Ericsson were brief in outlining their respective contributions to the project. Qualcomm explained how it plans to meet the challenge of expanding the current wireless capacity by a thousand times through the many innovations the company is currently working on. Meanwhile, Ericsson cited and dissected a comprehensive survey done on mobile device users, proving what we already know: We want a fast Internet connection that’s available on our smartphones, all the time, anywhere we go.

The majority of the paper, however, discussed at length how Facebook designed and created technologies that allowed billions of users to communicate with one another and how it applied to the company’s progress in mobile app development. Don’t want to read the 70 pages? Then here’s what you need to know about the social network’s plans for world domination:

1. In preparation for a constant increase in usership, Facebook has built efficiency-increasing tools to make it easier for programmers to write and execute code that will make the site run smoothly. Facebook was initially coded using PHP because it was easy to learn and even quicker to implement. However, in order for Facebook to keep using PHP to cater to a billion-big audience, the company would need a whole lot of servers. To fix this issue, Facebook built HipHop for PHP, a tool that converted easy PHP code into C++, a programming language that’s more efficient to use for massive-scale projects and requires fewer servers to run. A little over a year later, the company came out with the HipHop Virtual Machine, a tool that converted PHP into native machine code, thereby increasing server performance by 500 percent. Both tools are available on open source so others may use them as well.

2. While the company is indeed working on its efficiency, Facebook’s Open Compute Project (OCP) allows them to do so while also going green through the machines they use. The project, which has been active for over three years, is helping the company build their own better and more efficient data centers that run on natural air cooling, a no-frills hardware design, and better power management, all at a lower data delivery cost. There are at least five OCP projects mentioned in the paper, all of which are designed and are currently being worked on so that operators of data centers would be able to build systems that match their workload and be able to optimize operations.

3. When it comes to mobile app development (specifically for Android), Facebook faces a myriad of obstacles. Mobile phones run on different versions of the operating systems and come in various models, each with their own specifications. Facebook users are all over the world and access content at different times, from different locations, using different languages. And although there are already a number of countries that provide Internet connectivity through mobile phones, every region has a different quality or type. Some get charged a flat rate for unlimited connection, while most people pay for their service by-the-minute. All these factors make Internet.org’s main mission of globalizing Internet connectivity a little bit harder to accomplish.

4. Facebook has proposed solutions to the potential issues previously stated. The company has implemented a system called Air Traffic Control that allows Facebook employees to control every aspect associated with your device’s connection to the Web, such as bandwidth, latency, packet loss, corrupted packets, and packet ordering. Using these, employees can simulate varying connectivity conditions in terms of mobile radio technologies like 2G, EDGE, 3G, 4G; in terms of user location and what it would feel like to use the app in the U.S. compared to, say, India; in terms of problematic services like slow DNS, wonky connections, blocked ports, and firewalls, and in terms of network capacity levels in order to see how the app performs at different hours of the day.

5. Facebook wants to spend less time consuming data. By optimizing the resolution and formats of photos uploaded by users on a regular basis, they not only save themselves time delivering your data but also lessen the money and time you spend waiting for your pages to load. They also adopted the use of WebP – a more efficient image format developed by Google that downloads a lot faster, thereby conserving valuable bandwidth – to replace both JPGs and PNGs. Currently, most images on Facebook’s Android app have already been converted to WebP, and the transition is expected to roll out on other platforms soon. “When the images are converted to WebP, we will have saved over 20 percent of total network traffic, without loss of quality,” Facebook wrote in the paper. Additionally, they’ve also opted for “offloading large data transactions to non-cellular connections (such as Wi-Fi) and locally caching data on devices in advance.”

6. Facebook wants to keep improving “Facebook For Every Phone,” a product used by more than 100 million users monthly who access the social network using an inexpensive phone and affordable data plan. The product runs on low bandwidth and caters to people who can’t afford smartphones. The paper went into full detail on Facebook For Every Phone’s specifications, which they structured in the hopes of delivering “more efficient mobile experiences for more people in developing countries”.

“Making affordable Internet access a reality for the next 5 billion people depends on the industry achieving a dramatic improvement in the overall efficiency of delivering data,” the paper concluded. The powers behind the Internet.org program are confident that their continuous hard work and unwavering determination in developing solutions and tools will be enough to connect the planet to the Web – they predict that given the consistently high price of maintaining mobile Internet connectivity, the efficiency and cost-effectiveness data delivery can be multiplied a hundred fold in the next five to 10 years.


An inside look at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx, a revolutionary laptop processor

Six years after Microsoft’s failed foray into ARM computing with Windows RT, its second effort with Always-Connected PC is now showing early signs of success. Microsoft partner Qualcomm told us how the Snapdragon 8cx might revolutionize…

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.

Google’s updated Santa Tracker entertains and teaches coding throughout December

Google's Santa Tracker is in its fifteenth year and is back again with even more features. You can have fun with more than 20 games, learn about different holiday traditions around the world, and enjoy some festive animations.

Microsoft is ‘handing even more of online life’ to Google, Mozilla CEO says

Not everyone is happy with Microsoft's switch to Google's Chromium engine. In a new blog post, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard writes that he believes the move is "handing online life control" to Google.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.

Google Translate updated to reduce gender bias in its translations

Google is changing how Google Translate offers translations. Previously when you entered a word like doctor, Translate would offer a masculine interpretation of the word. Now, Translate will offer both masculine and feminine versions.

Encryption-busting law passed in Australia may have global privacy implications

Controversial laws have been passed in Australia which oblige tech companies to allow the police to access encrypted messages, undermining the privacy of encryption with potentially global effects.

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?