Facebook is one of the largest social media applications on Android and is known to consume a lot of data and while this is acceptable in developed markets, it has hampered users of the social network in developing markets. To solve this, Facebook announced the 2G-friendly Facebook Lite, which is designed specifically for 2G networks and areas with intermittent connectivity.
Facebook Lite has now launched in India and the Philippines and is set to launch in more markets over the coming weeks. While the full Facebook app weighs in at a whopping 250MB in size, Facebook Lite is just 430KB in stature thanks to the social network rolling back the experience to focus on four key services:
- News Feed
- Status Updates
- Push Notifications
Ironically, the four services are the core of Facebook’s offering and why many began using the social network before the influx of game requests and Facebook apps. Also included in the new app is access to your photos, pages and groups and you can also use Facebook’s full search feature. The app offers a similar user experience to the full Facebook app but loads faster on 2G networks thanks to Facebook optimising the content on its servers and Facebook have also confirmed that it will support video in the near future.
Vijay Shankar, Product Manager for Facebook Lite, said:
“We will get to video soon… In India over 80% of the users are on 2G network. We have worked on improving the apps performance even on spotty connections and across devices from entry-spec devices to high-end ones.
Shankar then went on to add that development of the app has taken over a year and the development team tested the app across Asia and Africa to ensure it worked properly.
“During the development phase, the team behind the app spent a lot of time on the ground traveling across India to test and check performance of the app.”
One of the reasons that rival social network Twitter grew in popularity was that it launched at a time when Facebook introduced apps and games, which resulted in the news feed becoming cluttered and the service consuming significantly more data. Facebook Lite will mean its now possible for users in developing countries to use the app without having to worry about poor connectivity and low allowances.