Facebook hints at new product, Zero

February 16, 2010

phones

The world’s No. 1 social networking website is developing a new text-only application called “Zero,” designed to reduce strain on mobile networks.

Facebook spokesman Larry Yu said the company was discussing the new product at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as a new way “…to make Facebook on the mobile web available to everyone, anywhere and allow operators to encourage more mobile Internet usage.”

Right now, he said zero.facebook.com appears to display the old mobile Facebook site, m.facebook.com. Yu said the new Zero should launch in a couple of weeks.

This move from Facebook comes amidst complaints from mobile phone network operators that their systems have been significantly strained as smartphones continue to drive an explosion of mobile applications that increasingly rely on the Internet to play games, watch videos and surf webpages.

The result has pushed U.S.-based AT&T to increase capital spending by about $2 billion this year to improve its wireless service. And they’re certainly not alone.

As carriers continue to strengthen their networks in the face of ever-increasing demand, popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google have continued to refine their approach to the mobile web in order to boost both their user-base and relationships with mobile carriers.

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