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SMS-delivered Internet becomes a reality with Cosmos Browser for Android

Android developers have come up with a way to use SMS text messages to bring Internet access to far-flung corners of the world that are unable to access Wi-Fi or 4G mobile broadband connections.

Related: Google’s Project Loon Internet balloons edge closer through telcos deal

Cosmos Browser was uploaded to GitHub with the purpose of using SMS text messages to find web content and display it to users in a simplified fashion.

"We want this to be a way for people to get information when they're in dire need of it," said Rohith Varanasi, the developer that provided the majority of Cosmos’ back-end, according to Fast Company.

Cosmos plans to use Node.js to compress and re-encode a page’s content into something that can then be transferred to a user through an SMS text message.

A post on its GitHub page explains that after a person posts a URL the app texts Cosmos’ Twilio number, which forwards the URL as a post request to the app’s Node.js back-end. It the takes the URL, gets the site’s HTML code, “minifies” it, removes the CSS, Javascript and images, GZIP compresses it, encodes it in Base64 and, finally, sends it as a series of SMS messages. Phones then receive the messages at a rate of three per second, the device ordering them, decompressing them and then displaying the content.

Related: Google kicks off Project Loon Internet access scheme in New Zealand

The information delivered from the off is basic, however, Varanasi is working on including images in the future and the plan is to have Cosmos launch before the end of the month.