Facebook goes ‘Lite’

In today’s society, everyone seems to be virtually connected. Whether it’s through social media, instant messaging or emailing, there is a way to communicate with your friends and family in a matter of minutes whether they are in the same room as you, down the street or on a completely different continent. But what about those who may not have access to the newest internet capable phone or access to reliable internet needed for these communication methods? Over the weekend Facebook launched a new app dedicated to the developing smartphone market. Called Facebook Lite, this app takes up less storage and is designed to work in areas with limited internet connection throughout the developing world.

The original Facebook app allows users to share updates, photos, and videos, chat with friends, and play games. With almost a five star rating in the Google Play store, users seem to be very pleased with how similar the functions of Facebook Lite are to the original app. Because the app is still being tested, it is only being offered in countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and some countries in Africa.

The original Facebook app (left) compared to the Facebook Lite app (right)
The original Facebook app (left) compared to the Facebook Lite app (right)

While my newsfeed is sometimes cluttered with pointless shared articles and the occasional status rant, I truly enjoy having a place where I am able to catch up with friends from all over the country at any time without leaving my couch. But for those people who volunteer for organizations stationed in third world countries, such as the Peace Corps, how are they able to keep in touch with friends and family and share their memorable moments? Or those who live in areas that are not as advanced as we are? While Facebook is not the only method for cross-continent communication or the sole solution to connectivity, it seems to be the most popular. Facebook Lite may be opening a whole new frontier for global connection.

On the other hand with cell phone providers continuing to lower the amount of data offered each month, I’m wondering if Facebook will expand this app to other countries that are more developed to help users preserve their data. Personally, it is a struggle each month to stay within the 10 GBs of data that my plan offers. Even if Facebook Lite were to become available in the US for a cost (it is currently free in it’s test countries), I could see this app benefitting a large number of it’s users. I really like the direction that Facebook is beginning to head.