Announcing the Internet.org Platform
Today, we’re introducing the Internet.org Platform, an open program for developers to easily create services that integrate with Internet.org. We’re also giving people more choice over the free basic services they can use.
Our goal with Internet.org is to work with as many developers and entrepreneurs as possible to extend the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities. To do this, we’re going to offer services through Internet.org in a way that’s more transparent and inclusive.
At the core of our efforts with Internet.org are non-exclusive partnerships with mobile operators to offer free basic internet services to people through Internet.org. This is a set of basic websites and services to introduce people to the value of the internet, and that we hope add value to their lives.
These websites are very simple and data efficient, so operators can offer these for free in an economically sustainable way. Websites do not pay to be included, and operators don’t charge developers for the data people use for their services.
Because these services have to be specially built to these specifications, we started by offering just a few. But giving people more choice over the services they use is incredibly important and going forward, people using Internet.org will be able to search for and use services that meet these guidelines.
We’re building an open platform and anyone who meets these guidelines will be able to participate.
Developers that join will need to follow three principles that we’ve followed in building versions of Facebook and Messenger for Internet.org. These are designed to align all participants’ incentives and bring more people online. Participation will remain free for any developer or user.
We think these criteria will help us to connect more people faster, and add even greater value to people’s lives.
Guidelines for participation
1. Explore the entire internet
The goal of Internet.org is to allow more people to experience the benefits of being online.
For most people who aren’t online, the biggest barrier to connecting isn’t lack of infrastructure – more than 80% of the world’s population already lives within range of a mobile signal. Instead, the biggest challenges are affordability of the internet, and awareness of how internet services are valuable to them.
The Internet.org Platform aims to give people valuable free services that they can use to discover the entire wealth of online services and, ultimately become paying users of the internet.
Services should encourage the exploration of the broader internet wherever possible.
To sustainably deliver free basic internet services to people, we need to build apps that use data very efficiently.
Operators have made significant economic investments to bring the internet to people globally, and Internet.org needs to be sustainable for operators so that they can continue to invest in the infrastructure to maintain, improve and expand their networks.
Websites that require high-bandwidth will not be included. Services should not use VoIP, video, file transfer, high resolution photos, or high volume of photos.
3. Technical specifications
For more information on how to work with Internet.org, visit internet.org/platform.
Update as of 9/24/15: Free Basics now supports HTTPS in the Android app and when you access the Free Basics website in a mobile browser. We also add extra security between our servers and the user even in the case the website only supports HTTP.