Facebook has launched a new version of its social network, targeted at emerging markets in South-East Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The new app, called Facebook Lite, offers a barebones version of the mobile app. Most of the functionality has been stripped away, allowing users to view comments, photos and not much more.
For all of the compromise, Facebook Lite only takes 1MB of space on a smartphone. An impressively small size considering even the cheapest phones feature at least 4GB of internal memory nowadays.
Facebook Lite should take less memory and data to run as well, meaning users should be able to run the app without freezes and not pay as much for data.
The update comes a few days after Google announced an optimised Google Search service, although users will not have to download a separate app for search. Google automatically views the data speed and RAM, and makes a decision whether to load the full search engine or an optimised version.
Facebook wants to keep users in countries like India, Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria on the social network for longer. Even if these countries aren’t making Facebook a lot of money now, it is a long term gamble that offering better services will keep users online for years.
Internet.org, Facebook’s non-for-profit Internet wing, already offers free internet in some of the countries where Facebook Lite will be popular. We expect Facebook will add this app to its small community of apps available with the free Internet service.