Cosmos, till recently was a term, we used to describe the contents of the universe. Then Neil Degrasse Tyson came in this summer and gave us an epic new show by the same name. Now a team of four college and high school students from the U.S have created a browser that lets you connect to the internet without a data plan. Cosmos is a web browser that does not need data connection to browse the internet. The browser was a novel idea of four college and high school students from the U.S. This team of students were able to create this browser in 36 hours. They have released a beta version that is available on the U.S. Play Store.
Sounds magical right? Here's how it works. On the browser, type in a valid URL of a site you want to go to. Your device will then send the URL to a remote server. This server will then package the website into a zip file then will send that file to you through a text message. Cosmos intercepts the message, unpacks it for you and voila, you can now view the website you need, when you need it, even if you don't have any Internet.
Large pages with lots of text may
take a while to load (one of the developers said a large Reddit thread
will probably load up in about 12 seconds), but again, this works
without data connectivity, so it’s still better than having to hunt for
open WiFi or simply staying offline. And it works with links, text
boxes, and buttons, so you can interact with the web, rather than just
consume raw text.
Even with the massive expansion of wireless internet, there are still areas – even in developed markets – where you can’t connect to 3G or LTE, but you can still get a basic cell signal. But the concept could explode in developing countries where internet access is still underdeveloped or too expensive for most users. There are some limitations of course – besides the limited usefulness of no-images, no-scripts websites, an unlimited or cheap SMS plan is needed. Slow loading times and potential limitations imposed by carriers could also affect the experience.
As the browser is just starting up, we’ll let the bugs slide as this sounds like a great way of bringing internet access to people who can’t afford it. At a time when major companies are planning drones and balloons to bring internet to the masses, a ground level effort like this is appreciated. We’d love to see where this Cosmos will lead us.
Update: Cosmos Broswer's team sent out a press release stating that they have had to mute the server and temporarily remove the Cosmos Browser app from the Play Store until they gather enough funds to keep their awesome project going. Keep an eye on the Cosmos Browser Facebook page for updates, and we'll be sure to let you know when everything is operational again. We'll keep the install link below for when everything returns to normal though, so stay tuned.