Facebook’s efforts to connect the world may be running into some stumbling blocks regarding its Internet.org Free Basics offerings, but the social network’s Facebook Lite application is doing just fine.
Software engineer Gautam Roy announced in a blog post that Facebook Lite became the fastest-growing version of Facebook to reach 100 million monthly active users, doing so in less than nine months.
Facebook Lite now supports 56 languages, Roy wrote, and it is most popular in Brazil, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Facebook Lite product manager Vijay Shankar told Mashable the social network is working on the addition of a Play Later feature, which will allow users to download videos in the background and notify them when those downloads are complete, adding:
Facebook Lite is the fastest-growing interface. We will continue to invest heavily to make the product better.
Right from building and launching to improvements, our understanding of how the product works in India play a huge role in shaping where the product is today.
The goal is not to have all the features of the main app, because then both will merge. Facebook Lite needs to stay true to its core principles of working on any phone, any network and being data-efficient.
The blog post by Roy offered a detailed look at the behind-the-scenes work that went into creating Facebook Lite, and he elaborated on the reasons for that work:
It’s important to us for everyone to have a great experience using Facebook on their phone, no matter the device they’re using or the connection they’re on. Because of various network conditions and types of hardware, experiences can differ. More than one-half of the world’s population, at least 1.6 billion people, still lives in places where mobile broadband networks (3G and 4G) are not available, making data access difficult. Even for people on 3G networks, the intermittency and stability of the connection are often the biggest barriers to delivering a great mobile experience.
Through our research in emerging markets and in seeing how people use our apps, we know that cost of data and overall data usage is extremely important to people. So we’ve been working to reduce data usage for people in emerging markets when they want to access Facebook. In addition to continuing to improve how the Facebook for Android app performs on 2G networks, we introduced Facebook Lite in 2015 to address those constraints. Our goal when we launched was to deliver a lightweight, fast and native Facebook experience for people using typical Android phones and network connections in emerging markets.
Readers: Are you surprised at how quickly Facebook Lite has grown?