Even as Facebook continues to grow worldwide, one of the challenges it continues face is the poor internet connectivity in emerging markets. While it has ambitious projects like Aquila internet-beaming drones for areas that have no or poor connectivity, one of the methods Facebook is implementing to target users on slow networks is to launch stripped down “Lite” version of its core app that can work on basic smartphones as well as on slower 2G networks. The app is less than 1 MB in size and takes a few seconds to download. While Facebook Lite was launched last year, the company has now introduced a Lite version of its messaging application, Messenger. Called Messenger Lite, the application is rolling out to people in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela. Right now there s no word on when the app will be rolled out in India. Though Facebook says Messenger Lite will be releasing in other countries in the coming months. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
According to Facebook, Messenger Lite is under 10MB in size, and fast to install and start up. The Lite version includes core features such as messaging, sending and receiving photos, links and stickers. The logo of the Lite version is same as of the main app but with colors reversed. Do note that Messenger Lite is only available for Android. Also Read - WhatsApp Multi-device support confirmed, public beta rollout begins in two months: Mark Zuckerberg
Messenger Lite is a slimmed down version of Messenger that offers the core features of Messenger for markets with slower than average internet speeds and a prevalence of basic Android smartphones, Facebook explained in a blog post. With Messenger Lite, more people can stay in contact, regardless of network conditions or storage limitations on their Android devices. Messenger Lite was built to give people a great Messenger experience, no matter what technology they use or have access to, it further said.
Facebook Lite app was launched in June last year with an objective to reach people on slower mobile networks and Android phones around the world. In March this year, Facebook revealed the Lite app had gone past 100 million monthly active users globally. The achievement came in less than nine months of its launch, which was faster than the main app. The social networking giant further updated the app with support video, multiple photo uploads, pinch-to-zoom for photos, emojis, and more. India was one of the top five markets for Facebook Lite.
The Facebook Lite app is based on its Facebook For Every phone service which aimed at smart feature phones. Instead of using HTTPS, Lite uses a custom message protocol over TLS (directly over TCP). Compressed message exchange takes place over the persistent TLS connection the client establishes to the server for the duration of the session. This design opens the door for a lot of optimizations that help with reducing data usage and performing on 2G networks. Lite has a set of image servers that talk to the CDN and other image stores to enable the Lite server to serve exact-size images to the client, Facebook explained.
Facebook s Messenger application, on the other hand, has evolved from being a regular instant messaging app to a full-fledged platform with abilities to perform AI-based tasks, games, VoIP and several business-focused features. Back in July this year, Messenger went past 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. ALSO READ: Facebook Messenger hits 1 billion monthly active users, 10 facts you should know
Introduction of a Lite version will certainly help Messenger increase base in emerging and crucial markets like India. Even though 3G and 4G penetration has grown in India, still a vast number of users are on slower 2G networks. Already, rival Google has launched a slew of apps like Google News Lite, YouTube Go and Wait for Wi-Fi for Google Play store among several other services, optimized for the slower internet connections. DON’T MISS: From YouTube Go to Google Assistant in Hindi, 6 things Google announced for India today