In a move that is seen as mitigating the resistance faced by its Internet.org initiative, Facebook renames its Internet.org app to 'Free Basics' and adds more services to the application. The social network giant has added more than 60 new services from developers that will be available across the 19 countries where Free Basics services are available.
According to Facebook, over the past few months, developers have built these services, adapting them specifically for the Internet.org platform requirements. New features include the ability for users of the app (including its mobile web version) to navigate to a menu where they can select the free services they wish to access. They can also search for services by name or description.
In a blog post, Facebook said it will now open the platform allowing any mobile operator to offer the service, transitioning from its earlier model that was based on formal partnerships with operators.
Facebook will also expand encryption over the Free Basics service, and in its blog, said, "With Free Basics, Internet.org is making it safer for people to connect to the websites and services they care about by encrypting information wherever possible. For example, when you use the Free Basics Android app, the traffic is encrypted end-to-end to protect your privacy unless a developer chooses to only support HTTP for their service".