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Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg addresses at the Internet.org Summit - 2014 in New Delhi, on Oct.9, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Facebook Lite Perfect for India’s 80% Population, Who’re Ready to Miss Videos: Official

Facebook has brought out a new light version of its app for India where 2G is more in use as 3G or 4G is functional mainly in metros, that too in upmarket localities. Even Airtel and other top notch telecom service providers are not fully functional in all areas of metros such as Bangalore, where 3G and 4G often fail to work due to poor infrastructure or signal strength.

Apt for all areas alike is the new light version call Facebook Lite and nearly 80 percent Indians are on 2G, says Vijay Shankar, product manager, Facebook Lite that was released in India last week. Quoting GSMA data, he said, “nearly 80 per cent of Indians are on 2G and hence we want to ease the Facebook interactive experience for them.”

The new app, less than 1 MB, can be downloaded from Facebook or Google Play Store and it uses compression making the server to bear burden of data transfer and bandwidth usage. However, it doesn’t provide video and GPS features but other core Facebook features such as News Feed, status update, photos, and notifications. Even @tagging feature is absent in Facebook Lite.

In India, there was a demand for this kind of a product, said Shankar. “We decided to do our research and development before developing a separate app that will cater to the demand,” he said assuring that there will be updates.

The market research for mobile phones reveal that most of the phones sold in India cannot cater 3G and hence a Lite version would bring them into the fold but also keeps them away from heavy-bandwidth requirements, especially in rural and remote areas. Moreover, Lite can run on phones with lower hardware features as its cache is much smaller in size and also it requires no big memory, he added.

On video and GPS, he said, “We did not add video as we want to take no risk with it. Usually GPS takes up a lot of data so we choose to keep that away too. Lite is in line with Facebook’s strategy to connect the next billion people in the country.”

Facebook has about 125 million users in India and it is the second biggest market after the US.

Facebook Lite Specs:

  • Quick to install – the app is less than 1 MB
  • Quick to load
  • Efficient with data
  • Designed for 2G networks and areas with limited network connectivity

Compatibility: Android 2.2 or higher

Last Updated: 2 June 2015.

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