Facebook launches web innovation lab with Ericsson, tries to change the world

Facebook and Ericsson are teaming up for a joint innovation lab that's expected to open in Menlo Park, US later this year, providing a space for developers to test mobile apps and services in simulated global environments.

As part of the Internet.org initiative, the collaboration tackles some of the most critical aspects of the organisation's plan to bring web access to "the next five billion people."

According to Jay Parikh, Facebook's vice president of infrastructure engineering, developers at the lab will be able to simulate network conditions often found in new markets, "giving them an environment to test and optimize their applications under a number of different scenarios."

As people across the globe operate on different networks—2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi—not to mention various mobile operating systems on a range of devices, developers often struggle to provide for everyone.

Now, with the help of Ericsson's Device and Application Verification service capabilities, developers can test services in every conceivable environment, all in one location.

"This is a unique capability that Ericsson brings to the table and we are happy they have taken a leadership position with us," Parikh said in a statement.

Spearheaded by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, Internet.org launched in August with the promise to bring online access to another 5 billion people. At this point, 2.7 billion people—or one-third of the world's population—have access to the web.

In his keynote address at MWC last night, ITProPortal witnessed Zuckerberg tell a packed hall how important it is to decrease the cost of Internet infrastructure. He wants to empower billions of mobile users the world over.

Ericsson is an original Internet.org partner, alongside MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, and Samsung, all of which have pledged to develop joint projects, share knowledge, and mobilise industry and governments to bring the world online.

"The goals of Internet.org are very much aligned with our long-standing ideal that communications is a basic human need," said Johan Wibergh, Ericsson head of business unit networks. "The collaboration with app developers will provide Ericsson with invaluable understanding of their requirements on our networks, which we can apply to ensure the continued development of the best performing networks globally."

The joint innovation lab, which was announced at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is expected to open in the second half of 2014 at Facebook's main California campus.

For all the releases, updates, and some beautiful photos of the latest gadgets, check out our live coverage of all the action from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.