Facebook Messenger ‘Lite’: With an aim to dominate the emerging market of the world, Facebook has just launched the stripped-down version of its Messenger for connections with low bandwidth and backdated smartphones. Facebook recently unveiled many new, innovative features like live video and polls among many other things, yet in a totally opposite approach, this toned down version of the Messenger is going to make it a hit among the consumers in developing economies. The Facebook Messenger ‘Lite’ will be launched for Android devices, will be light on data as it features only the core important attributes of the messaging application. The new design is aimed at working on poor internet connections and old smartphones with outdated hardware. This feature and innovative thinking will help people in countries where high-speed internet infrastructure is a rarity or average at best. And as expected the first countries where this ‘Lite’ version will be launched are Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela, which will be followed by a launch in other countries.
When designing the new version, Facebook made sure that it gets rid of every feature which takes up the maximum bandwidth of the network and even storage space. From video-calling, voice internet calling to GIFs, everything has been done away with. This also proves light on the storage of the smartphone. While the original Messenger app takes up more than 200 megabytes of space on the iPhone and more than 40 MB on the Android phones, the Lite version will be of significantly lower 10 MBs. This does not mean, that the new Lite app will just be like a simple text messaging app. Users will still be able to send emojis, stickers, even pictures and locations data. Although the version has launched in developing countries, Facebook still believes that the app can be of use to developed markets like US and UK as well. This move by Facebook comes after a series of efforts to penetrate into the emerging markets and to make it more accessible, like the Free Basics program.
Free Basics by facebook is a part of Internet.org which in certain countries offers basic internet websites for free. This effort was met with a lot of criticism as such methods can lead to a lot of favouritism. Interestingly, Facebook has shown its intent on making the Messenger a full-fledged platform in itself where users will not need any other apps. It plans to include third party apps and chatbots into it. With such grand plans, this move by Facebook to reach global markets makes total sense.