If you have issues running the standard Facebook app on your Android smartphone due to low internet speed or limited RAM space on your phone, it’s time you tried out Facebook Lite. The newest version of Facebook has been the fastest growing app from the company since it was released in June 2015, helping millions around the world experience a smoother scrolling experience.
In fact, Facebook Lite recently recorded 100 million monthly users in less than 9 months, reaching the milestone faster than any previous version of Facebook. The app was created in light of difficulties faced by users in many emerging markets with older/cheaper smartphones and/or slow internet connections. Facebook Lite takes up less than 1 MB of space and uses much less data than the original mobile app. This is made possible as a result of its drastically stripped-down Facebook mobile frame. Initially, it did not provide video support and doesn’t require users to download Messenger as a separate app.
Currently, Facebook Lite is only available to Android users in 150 countries and in 56 different languages. Top countries that have been found to use the app so far include Brazil, India, Mexico and the Philippines but more and more countries around the world have been catching on. Its popularity has seemingly helped to boost Facebook’s overall base of 1.59 billion users, as more people who probably weren’t on the app due to poor internet infrastructure in their region, can now access the social network.
The growing popularity of Lite has prompted the Facebook team to offer even more capabilities to its intended market, especially those on 2G networks, while still keeping it lighter than original Facebook mobile. To begin with, the platform started supporting low-resolution videos late last year due to customer demand. Users are actually able to view the amount of data each video consumes before watching; this is important for people who are paying for a set amount of data. In addition, Facebook Lite has been further enhanced with a faster startup time, support for multiple picture uploads, emojis, and pinch-to-zoom ability for photos.
While ensuring that the main mobile app retains most of the main features that make Facebook what it is, developers are still planning to bring new capabilities to Lite without reducing its speed. One of the main upcoming features for users to look forward to is a ‘Play Later’ function which will allow users to download videos in the background and then get notified when it is complete and ready to be watched. Additionally, Facebook engineers are contemplating building a developer-friendly Facebook Lite version in the not too distant future.
The only question that remains unanswered at the moment is whether Facebook will create an iOS Lite version for iPhone users, which they haven’t answered explicitly as yet.
For businesses on Facebook, while the proliferation of Facebook Lite may not affect them directly, it could expand their reach indirectly as Facebook gets bigger among people in emerging markets with limited accessibility. More people getting on Facebook, who are able to view a range of content without their phones freezing up can only boost the reach of content being uploaded by brands.
The significance of Facebook Lite comes to life in the following statistics:
- According to Facebook, Lite will help up to 1.6 billion people around the world, who do not have access to 3G or 4G networks, utilize the social platform.
- Facebook Lite will help millions who have access to 3G networks, but which are still unstable, experience a smoother mobile experience.
- Facebook Lite is more than 30 times smaller than Facebook original.
- Facebook Lite requires less than 50 times the amount of RAM required by the original Facebook app.
- Since launch, Facebook Lite updates have seen the app loading up to 25% faster successively.
- As it relates to battery consumption, Facebook Lite only consumes 2% of battery over a time period; the original Facebook app may consume more than 30% of battery over the same time period.
- Facebook Lite loads up to 70% faster on 2G networks when compared to the original app.