In an attempt to avoid the dreaded buffering symbol in regions where mobile internet access is spotty or prohibitively expensive, Facebook is about to start testing a new video download feature for a group of users in India. As TechCrunch reports today, those users will be able to sync videos while on WiFi and download them to watch in the Facebook app later.
While Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have been vocal about getting as many people online as possible, the offline feature is more than just a win for users in regions with little to no cellular coverage –- Facebook is also calling it a success for publishers and producers that might be feeling slighted by the latest changes to the News Feed algorithm. The update also brings some anti-piracy features designed with video creators in mind: the videos are only viewable in the Facebook app, and publishers can disable offline downloading from within their Page settings. Advertisements won't have the option to be viewed offline, but Facebook Live is also getting a few feature updates, like a new ability to cut off another team members live broadcast remotely.
Meanwhile, another arm of Facebook is taking a different approach to the problem of spotty cellular service. The social network's own OpenCellular wireless platform , also announced today, hopes to help bring another 4 billion people across the planet online. (So they can log on to Facebook, naturally.)