Facebook’s new ‘free internet’ App…

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The Internet giant Facebook this week launched its Internet.org app in India, offering free basic Web services to millions of people in the second-most populous country on the planet.

The app is now available in six different Indian states —Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, and Telangana —offering residents access to more than three dozen Web services.

While the app provides free access to some useful Web assets, it’s not a gateway to the unrestricted Internet.

Users are limited to a range of portals found within the Internet.org app, which include Wikipedia, some job listing sites, select weather, sports, and news outlets, and, naturally, Facebook and Facebook Messenger. Users must also be customers of local cellular carrier Reliance Communications, as Facebook is launching the app in partnership with the company.

Even without a data plan, Reliance customers in the select Indian states can access the free Web services in the Internet.org Android app, on the Web, from the start screen of the Opera Mini mobile Web browser, and in the Android app UC Browser.

Most of the services will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati, and Marathi, Facebook said.

“This is a big step forward in our efforts to connect everyone to the Internet, and to help people share their ideas and creativity with the entire world. We’ll continue to improve the experience and roll it out to other parts of the world,” Facebook said in a statement.

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