Facebook today announced a new version for its Android application, called Facebook Lite. The app is aimed at users who do not have access to very fast data connections. The company had been testing the app since January this year. According to Facebook, the app will work on all Android devices and across all network connections, while using less amount of data. It is also less than 1MB in size, meaning it won’t take much time to download over a 2G or other slower connections. Facebook has rolled out the app to Asian countries today and says it will be available in Latin America, Europe and Africa in the coming weeks.
What has changed
The most obvious change is of course in the fact that the icon for the Facebook Lite app is white in colour, as opposed to the blue icon for the main Facebook app. In order to cut the size of the app, Facebook has obviously had to cut down on some of the features of the app as well. The social networking giant though retains most of its core functions, like the news feed, profile, status updates, ability to write posts on others timelines, photos etc. The Lite version mainly differs from the main Facebook app in two areas — image qualities and overall looks.
The Facebook Lite app looks different and images are smaller in size and resolution.
What you lose
The images that you see on your timeline, pages, cover photos etc. will be of much smaller size and resolution compared to the full Facebook app. This has of course been done to reduce the load times for the app and its various section, especially for slower data connections. The Facebook Lite app loads visibly faster than the main Facebook app. The overall design is also much more straightforward, instead of the material design elements that Facebook recently employed in its main Android app. Facebook Lite employs little to no animations, again to aid slower Internet connections.
Facebook Lite (L) vs Facebook Main (R)
The ‘Update Status’ options appears on the top of the app, but in a different manner. While on the main Facebook app, you can make a status update from above the News Feed, Facebook Lite takes you to a different screen, with boxes for posting text or images. Choosing to make a photo post will allow you to launch the camera, but the options to add stickers, text or crop images are not provided.
The material design elements from the main Facebook app (R) are removed in Facebook Lite (L)
On Facebook pages, you will find the cover photo is altogether missing, while boxes with symbols appear instead of the text-based Post, Photo and About options. In addition, videos have completely been removed from Pages on the Facebook Lite app, which makes sense, since they will be a pain to load on 2G connections anyway.
Pages don't have cover pictures on Facebook Lite (L)
Other major omissions on the Lite version include Saved Links, Games, the option to create pages and groups from the app, Pokes, Instagram, App Invites etc.
Is it any good?
The Facebook Lite app loads visibly faster than the main Facebook app. Although the difference is in seconds, it’s enough to make a difference to those with older phones and slow Internet connections. Plus, Facebook has surprisingly been able to retain lots of features from the main application, making Facebook Lite a very good app for its target audience.