Instagram Tests Offline Functionality


Parts of Instagram could soon work offline.

The company is experimenting with offline experiences for users in countries that have low bandwidth, according to a session description on the agenda for Facebook’s upcoming F8 developer conference.

According to the description for the session, titled “Building Offline Experiences for Instagram,” the company is “testing offline experiences that keep the Instagram experience consistent and let people consume and engage with content, even if they don’t have service.”

Exactly how this will work, or what Instagram features would function offline, is unclear. The description for the session, which is scheduled to run about 20 minutes, notes the team will share their “initial experiences,” so it doesn’t sound like we’ll see an actual launch until after F8.

That Instagram is testing offline features or experiences in the interest of making its app easier to use in developing countries is not in itself surprising, though the company hasn’t publicly discussed such a plan until now. Given that the majority of the app’s 600 million users are now outside the U.S., expanding to regions where reliable internet and data connections are hard to find will be key to maintaining future growth.

Facebook has already had quite a bit of success with Facebook Lite, the company’s stripped down app that’s optimized for 2G connections and already counts more than 200 million users. The company is also experimenting with offline video in India.

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