After much anticipation, Facebook is finally offering its Instant Articles application on Android devices. The social networking website has stated that media companies will now be able to publish articles directly to the news feed of the platform.
Instant Articles involves more than 350 publications across the globe. Some of these news providers include, the New York Times, NBC News, the Guardian, Haaretz, Al Jazeera English and Business Insider.
The service originally launched earlier this year in May, and it has been available on iOS devices since October.
With the ability to host content within the application, articles are able to load much faster, which results in a better experience for mobile users.
Additionally, publishers are able to sell and embed advertisements within in the article and keep all of the revenue. This way, publishers don’t lose any revenue by signing up.
However, there have been some concerns from media companies that the move has transferred some control over the news to the Facebook platform. The platform is already responsible for directing a large amount of traffic towards news websites.
Facebook most likely made the move to give users fewer reasons to ever stop using the app. The idea is that as the app incorporates more features into its core product, users will spend more time on the app, allowing Facebook to serve more advertisements.
The app also recently gained the ability to allow users to find local businesses in a similar manner to review website Yelp. The stock price for Yelp declined by 9% after the service was launched by Instant News.
Former product director of Facebook Blake Ross has stated that the company is essentially allowing its users to search for anything. The company has been quietly morphing its search tool from a people search into an “anything” search, similar to what if offered by Google. With that, people have no reason to leave Facebook, regardless of what they need to search for.