For around six months, Facebook has been testing, Facebook lite, a stripped-down version of Facebook for Android that consumes less data, lighter in weight and can work with low-cost Android devices with meager resources. This month, the Social networking giant started the rolling out officially the app in various markets in Africa and South Asian countries and today it got the official release in India and Philippines.
The idea of Facebook lite was nurtured and largely developed at the Facebook’s Innovation lab at the company’s Menlo Park Headquarters, under project manager Vijay Shankar.
As on today, even with the official roll-out happening only this month, the app has already around 12million downloads in Play store.
While the Facebook for Android app takes up around 30MB of storage, the Facebook lite is less than 1MB and also consumes less data. While it will feature all core functions of the standard app like news feed, messaging, photos, links and notifications, it does not show videos on the news feed. Messaging is integrated right into the Facebook lite unlike the Facebook for Android which requires, Facebook Messenger for messaging.
Vijay Shankar at a roundtable discussion today said the new app has been build ‘ground up for markets like India’ where still majority of people use 2G data. He added ““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-level devices to high-end ones,”
Both the Facebook lite and Facebook for Android can coexists on a single device and work in a scenario where a user who is lapped to WiFi network at home / office can use the later and switch on to the ‘liter’ version when on a move on slow connection. As of now Facebook lite is available only for Android devices.