At a press event at the Hotel Taj Vivanti in Mumbai, the social network announced that it teamed up with mobile carrier Reliance Communications to launch the Internet.org app in six Indian states — Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Telangana.
Reliance customers in those six states will have access to the following services, free-of-charge:
- Aaj Tak: Read news in Hindi.
- AccuWeather: Get updated weather information.
- amarujala.com: Read news in Hindi.
- AP Speaks: Engage with local government.
- Babajob: Search for jobs.
- BabyCenter & MAMA: Learn about pregnancy and childcare.
- BBC News: Read news from around the world.
- Bing Search: Find information.
- Cleartrip: Check train and flight schedules and buy tickets.
- Daily Bhaskar: Read local news.
- Dictionary.com: Search for meanings of words.
- ESPN Cricinfo: Get cricket updates.
- Facebook: Communicate with friends and family.
- Facts for Life: Find health and hygiene information.
- The Girl Effect: Read articles and tips for girls.
- HungamaPlay: Listen to music.
- IBNLive: Read news
- iLearn: Learn from women entrepreneurs.
- India Today: Read local news.
- Internet Basics: Learn about the basics of the Internet.
- Jagran: Read local news.
- Jagran Josh: Get education and career information.
- Maalai Malar: Read news in Tamil.
- Maharashtra Times: Read news in Marathi.
- Malaria No More: Learn about malaria.
- manoramanews.com: Read local news.
- Messenger: Send messages to friends and family.
- NDTV: Read news.
- Newshunt: Read news in English.
- OLX: Buy and sell products and services.
- Reliance Astrology: Read your horoscope.
- Reuters Market Light: Get farming and crop information.
- Socialblood: Register to donate blood.
- The Times of India: Read news.
- TimesJobs: Search for jobs.
- Translator: Translate words and phrases.
- Wikipedia: Find information.
- wikiHow: Find information.
Facebook said in a Newsroom post announcing the app’s Indian launch:
Late last year Facebook hosted the first Internet.org Summit in New Delhi. The summit and keynote from (Facebook co-founder and CEO) Mark Zuckerberg addressed barriers to Internet connectivity and explored ways to provide Internet access to more than 1 billion people in India who aren’t yet connected.
Reliance customers in India can access these services in the Internet.org Android app, at www.internet.org, from the start screen of the Opera Mini mobile Web browser and using the Android app UC Browser for Internet.org. Most of the services will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi.
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.
Zuckerberg added in a Facebook post (embedded below):
We just launched Internet.org in India, giving people in six Indian states access to free basic Internet services for health, education, jobs and communication.
Over the past year, we’ve rolled out Internet.org free basic services to countries with more than 150 million people total across Africa and Latin America. More than 6 million people are already connected to the Internet who previously weren’t, and we’ve started hearing incredible stories about how the Internet is changing lives and communities.
But to continue connecting the world, we have to connect India. More than 1 billion people in India don’t have access to the Internet. That means they can’t enjoy the same opportunities many of us take for granted, and the entire world is robbed of their ideas and creativity.
Today’s announcement is just one step toward changing that. People on the Reliance network in the states of Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Telangana will now have free data access to more than three-dozen services.
We still have a long way to go to connect India. But I’m optimistic that by getting free basic services into people’s hands, more change can follow pretty rapidly.
The photo below is from my visit in October to Chandauli, a small rural village in northern India that recently got connected to the Internet. Students at this computer center were learning to use the Internet for the first time. People from across the surrounding area were visiting the center and asking the kids to look up information for them. Knowledge and tools were starting to make life better for everyone.
One day, we will connect everyone, and the power of the Internet will serve every community across India and the world. That day is coming.
Readers: Which country should be next on the list to receive access to the Internet.org app?