Facebook rolled out a new Android app for its social media service on Thursday that uses less data and runs faster in regions with spotty connections.
The app, called Facebook Lite, is available in countries across Asia and will soon make its way to parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe, Vijay Shankar, product manager for Facebook Lite, said in an interview. In many of those countries, people still use 2G networks, which are much slower and have less power than the 4G networks in many developed nations.
“We want to offer people a choice so if there are limitations, they can still get the full Facebook experience,” Shankar said.
The app uses less than one-half of a megabyte of data to limit data usage and rates for those in emerging markets. While it still supports Facebook’s News Feed, status updates, notifications and photos, it does not support videos and advanced location services.
Facebook Lite is part of the world’s largest social media network’s expansion into emerging markets. Earlier this year, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced Internet.org, a platform developed with six technology partners to connect 4.5 billion people with no current access to the Internet.
At the time of writing, the app was not yet available on Google Play India. Further detailing the need for Facebook Lite, Shankar elaborates in a blog post.
“More than a billion people around the world access Facebook from a range of mobile devices on varying networks. In many areas, networks can be slow and not able to support all the functionality found in Facebook for Android. Facebook Lite was built for these situations, giving people a reliable Facebook experience when bandwidth is at a minimum.
Facebook Lite is less than 1MB so it is fast to install and quick to load. It includes Facebook’s core experiences like News Feed, status updates, photos, notifications and more.
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