On Thursday Facebook has released a Lite version of its app. The tool is especially designed for places where the wireless data bandwidth is poor or where the phones used are outdated.
The low-resolution of Facebook’s Android app uses much less data than the traditional app. This makes it perfect in areas with weak network connection such as Asia, India and Africa. For now Facebook Lite is available in Asia, nut it will roll out in the following weeks in Africa, Latin America and Europe.
Facebook has thought of this move because in developing countries users who install messaging apps experience big problems because of the slow internet connection. Facebook Messenger is one of the most used apps for keeping in touch with friends, but in emerging countries it works with interruptions.
Lite does not provide data-intensive features such as Nearby Friends or videos and it has lower-resolution image thumbnails. However users are willing to accept this for a cheap, fast and smooth experience of social network. According to Facebook the app works well even in remote areas of the world irrespective of possible constrained telecommunication network conditions.
Vijay Shankar, the product manager of Facebook Lite, said that almost a year ago they realized that the Facebook experience needs much more work, particularly in emerging markets and in places where the networks are poor.
There can be many areas where networks are slow and cannot support everything that Facebook has to offer. Facebook Lite is especially built for this type of situations and even if the bandwidth is at minimum it still provides a reliable experience of Facebook. Lite has less than 1MB and it can be installed on phones with 2G networks that are slow on unstable in some areas. For now the app is only available for Android devices.
In fact the social network giant has been trying for years to reach the developing world. Almost five years ago the company launched Facebook Zero, a version of Facebook which only had text. Facebook has also bought Snaptu which helped building a feature phone app for emerging countries. The app was renamed Facebook For Everyphone. Facebook’s latest effort to reach the developing countries was the Internet.org initiative. In collaboration with telecom companies Facebook built drones which brought Internet in rural areas.
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