Here’s something you probably didn’t even think to wish for, because the concept is so insane: A way to surf the web using SMS text messages. That’s the idea behind Cosmos Browser, a project posted to GitHub a few days ago. But if it comes to fruition, this idea could have far-reaching implications.
If the experience is functional enough, you could imagine this workaround being used to access the Internet in parts of the world where Wi-Fi and 4G mobile broadband aren’t readily available.
Even if it doesn’t make a dent in the digital divide, you have to admit: This is a pretty impressive feat.
The Cosmos Browser is an Android web browser that uses SMS text messages to retrieve web content and then display it to the user in a stripped-down layout. On the backend, Cosmos will use Node.js to compress and re-encode the page’s content into a format than can be transferred over SMS.
“We want this to be a way for people to get information when they’re in dire need of it,” says Rohith Varanasi, a developer who contributed much of the backend code for Cosmos.
The project’s Github page explains how the process works:
Right now, pages on Cosmos will essentially be text-only documents with some light formatting, but Varanasi says they’re working on including images.
Cosmos is expected to launch before the end of the September.