About two years ago, Facebook launched, what can analogically be called a feather light version, of the social media platform’s core app. Called Facebook Lite, the app weighed just 1.3MB, and was perfect for people using a low-end Android device or connected to a patchy network, in short perfect for many users in India. And, unfortunately, or not, India still remains to be the top market for it. And to be honest, as much Facebook Lite needs the Indian market, India needs apps like Facebook Lite as well.
Facebook today announced an important improvement for the Lite app, which is the roll out of the popular Facebook Reactions. Up till now, similar to the pre-2016 Facebook core app, the Facebook Lite only had the thumbs up aka like reaction. Now, enhancing the user experience, Facebook has added the familiar Love, Angry, Wow, Laugh reactions to the Lite app as well, and it continues to be just 1.3MB in size. And that makes it all the more reason why apps like Facebook Lite is exactly what India needs.
Despite the growing competition in the telecom sector over offering the most appealing deals on data packs, and the endless feud over whose 4G network is the fastest, and the attempts of the Department of Telecom on making thousands of railway station in the country a Wi-Fi hotspot, the balloon internet projects, the truth remains that India is struggling with a decent internet connectivity. According to an Akamai Report, where an average internet speed is 7Mbps globally, India’s average remains at 5.6Mbps. In an Akamai Report published in 2008, ‘high broadband’ was defined at 5Mbps and above, and after nine years, while South Korea had the highest average connection speed globally at 26.1 Mbps, India still lingers around the 5Mbps speed.
Coming back to the Facebook Lite app, it is optimized for slower Internet speeds such as 2G with greater emphasis on basic features such as sharing status and messaging. It works on Android versions as old as Gingerbread, and on all other versions above, and it works with 2009 year class devices like the Samsung Galaxy Y. ALSO READ: Facebook Lite reaches 200 million users, registers 100% growth in one year
Essentially, while the user experience on the Lite version may not be as fluid as that on Facebook’s core app, now with the roll out of the Reactions, it offers almost about every basic feature the main app offers. Except Facebook Lite works beautifully with the slow patchy internet, and the core app doesn’t.
Besides, I am not the only ones who thinks that Lite apps are a great idea for the Indian market right now. After Facebook launched the Lite app in 2015, platforms like Google, YouTube, Skype, Uber, and Twitter have followed suit. Combating the iffy network connectivity Google has launched lite version of its Search, Maps, and Weather app, among other. YouTube recently rolled out the beta version of
YouTube recently rolled out the beta version of YouTube Go app, which is another lighter version of the core app, that works seamlessly with poor network connectivity. Then, earlier this month, Twitter too joined the league with the Twitter Lite app, which lets user bookmark posts and pages, so that the app doesn’t keep refreshing and loading in the back. Uber’s mobile web version is another example of a lite version of an app. ALSO READ: Facebook posts ‘strongest’ growth in India thanks to Reliance Jio’s free offers
Having said that, it is undeniable that India is making a notable progress when it comes to digitization, but it is also unfair to live in denial that the entire country gets the high-speed internet connection. And for that very reason, lite apps are sort of a necessity for the Indian audience, and it would continue to be for a while.