Miruna Codeanu

Internet.org

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2014 at 8:31 am

Today is about Facebook again. Today Facebook announced a new app: Internet.org. Internet.org was first announced as Facebook’s plan to deliver internet to third world countries and isolated territories. Back then it was about drones. Drones were to be used as satellites offering internet to secluded areas with no access to information. However, the plan changed. Internet.org became an app that makes the internet accesible to more people. It will be first launched in Zambia. It offers free access to health, employment and local information and, of course, Facebook (AccuWeather, Airtel, EZeLibrary, Facebook, Facts for Life, Google Search, Go Zambia jobs, Kokoliko, MAMA, Mesenger, Wikipedia, WRAPP and ZAmbia uReport are the places where free online access is granted. This is how it looks like.


Given my whole sympathy for the African matter this is..wait for it… awesome. I do have  a strong attachment to the African matter, however, rationally speaking, Africa is the next target for development and consumerism. This world, as we know it, sitting on a bubble, always on the verge of the next economic crisis, needs expansion, and until further expansion into space, we have Africa left. Truth be told, Africa is still an unstable territory, with economic risks for its investors. However, we had BMW opening a manufacturing plant in South Africa last year, and I believe companies will keep their expansion in Africa.  Besides the instability, there is also the matter of education. Most countries in Africa still have considerable problems with illiteracy. It would probably be the minimal requirement for any type of workforce. That means Africa requires education and access to information, of course, considering that access to clean water is granted.

Internet.org promises to deliver access to information regarding health and employment, local information, Facebook and Messenger, also Google Search. I am somewhat surprised with Facebook’s decision to include Google Search and not push its Graph Search, but I guess that Facebook no longer finds search attractive for its side of the internet business or too big the fuss to compete with Google. Also, some may claim Facebook is not information. I’m sorry guys, but all the people sharing internet memes and 5th grade humor got “unfollow” from me, while publication pages and news gain territory  in my newsfeed. Also, socialization, including the online one, is a way to acquire knowledge.

And no, I’m not naive. I’m aware that in order to use that information a Zambian will need a smartphone. I’m aware a smartphone is not precisely cheap. Someone who visited Africa was however, telling some delicious stories about the tribe chiefs communicating on cellphones. Let’s thank Apple’s competition for making technology available to many market segments. This is the reason for which I personally do not agree with Apple’s patent policy which makes an item inaccessible and brings the company holding the patent to the point of monopoly. While competition gets things going. And yes, I always go for the game changer.  Bringing free internet to Africa may seem like a foolish idea. Zambia may have a low GDP per capita at this moment, but Zambia holds quite a good position in economic world rankings, and I’ve found Zambia many times before Romania. Sure, that’s not precisely relevant, but Romania is after all a member of the European Union, which means Zambia could hold unlimited possibilities. Also, Zambia is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with more 40% of its population living in an urban environment.  Hopefully, Zambia is just the beginning of the friendship between Africa and access to information.

Starting today, you can call me a Facebook fanboy, and today I’m seriously considering Facebook shares.

 

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