Facebook has launched its “lite” version of the Messenger App. This has been done in order to help many users who are located in areas with slow internet speed. This version of the app is going to help them send and receive texts more easily. Facebook explained in a blog post that this version of the app is especially designed for Android phones which have low memory. The app has been released today in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela. Soon, it will also be available in other parts of the world.
An effort to expand reach
With the release of Facebook Lite, the company looks to reach more and more people from the developing countries. Free Basics is another app which allows people to access certain web sites which will not affect their monthly data plan. Facebook’s campaign looks to reach the “next billion” of users from the developing countries. But some are criticizing it because what they have done looks more like trying to catch those people in their net, not necessarily help them.
Other than that, the new Messenger Lite offers the same functions as the basic app. Users will be able to send and receive texts, photos, videos, links and even stickers. The app is under 10MB so it is very easy and fast to download and use. Two months ago, Facebook announced that Messenger has reached 1 billion users. The news came right after WhatsApp (which Facebook also owns) reached the same number of active users.
Tom Mulcahy, Engineering Manager for Messenger Lite, said that with this new version of the Messenger App, people who live in the developing areas can now enjoy talking with their friends and family. The network limitations or conditions are not going to affect communication in any way. The purpose of the app is to offer people the full pleasure of socializing, regardless of their environment, status or network and device capability.
A needed help
Stan Chudnovsky, head of Facebook Messenger, explained that the challenge was to find a way to make possible for users to send links, photos and videos. This is such an important part of the communication process, so they had to make it a priority.
But still, what you will not be able to do for now are voice calls. This is a more sensitive subject which needs different technology in order to function properly. But Facebook is looking into it and they think that this feature will be added soon. Chudnovsky thinks that soon, the developing countries will reach the level of the other areas. Progress happens everywhere so this should be just a matter of time. But if this does not happen, Facebook is ready to keep going the Messenger and Facebook Lite versions. They will keep adding features which will make them function on older phones, in order to keep those people satisfied and to make them feel like they are in contact with the newest technology.
All in all, this new lite app is very useful. Facebook has created something to help people in developing countries and will most probably continue to do so. Even if some critics say that they just want to milk another cow, it may turn out that Facebook actually wants to make the world a better place. Don’t we all?
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