Anybody who uses public transport on the regular knows the frustration of having to stop obsessively scrolling through their Facebook news feed whenever they’re underground. Folks living in places with sketchy internet access are all familiar with the irritation that comes with composing a well-articulated political argument, only to have their internet go out right as they hit the “Post Comment” button. Facebook is working on a solution to this problem by giving you access to your news feed even if you’re offline.
Although they’re still testing this feature, the concept seems very workable. The idea is that your Facebook app will keep a cache of recent stories posted to Facebook. If it detects that you don’t have an internet connection, instead of just showing you an error message, the app will shuffle through the cache and pick out some stories you haven’t read yet. Whenever you get even the barest trickle of internet, Facebook will attempt to grab new content for you.
The update also gives you a little bit of interactivity as well. You can post comments or statuses even without internet, and the app will store them for the next time you’re online. Once you get data service or a wifi connection, Facebook will post the content for you. I guess you just have to cross your fingers that what you had to say will still be relevant to the conversation.
We’re not sure yet if Facebook is rolling this feature out for all app users or if they’re just testing it with a limited audience. It seems like a feature with more pros than cons, so I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing offline news feeds pretty soon either way.
Gimmick or useful update? Let us know in the comments!