Facebook to offer free lite mobile version of itself

A month ago, Facebook was testing a stripped down version of its website,called Facebook Lite. At that time, among other speculations behind the rationale for the lighter version was Facebook’s intent to make Facebook more easy to use and thus attractive to developing nations who are still on the slower sides of the internet speeds and carrying slower PCs. Some even compared Facebook Lite to a twitter alias.

So contrary to a thought which believes in continued innovation in infrastructure and devices (on which most social networks run) making them faster and more capable; Facebook, is relying on slimming things, to make it faster. And after PCs, it has trained its eyes on mobile devices in developing (and money conscious users of the developed) countries.

Facebook has teamed up with 50 wireless operators to offer cellphone users a stripped-down version of the social networking site that can be accessed without incurring data charges.

The new site, dubbed 0.facebook.com, is a text-only version of Facebook's flagship Internet site and is specially designed for mobile phones with limited bandwidth Internet connections. The new site will be available beginning on Tuesday, 19 may 2010, in 40 different countries, including Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey from a variety of carriers.In addition to many so-called emerging economies the site will be available in the United Kingdom, Finland and Hong Kong, among other places. As no US operator is from US, hence the site will not be available in US, unless some operator opts for it. The site will be free to the customers of the participant sites. For example for India, the Operators party to the project are Reliance, Videocon and Tata Docomo.

Customers of the participating wireless operators will be able to access the new Facebook site without paying any wireless data charges.The 0.facebook site offers the same capabilities as Facebook's standard website, allowing members to view their news feed, comment on posts and send messages. But 0.facebook will not feature any photos or videos -- Web surfers can link to view photos and videos, although they will be charged standard wireless data fees by their carriers at that point.

I used Facebook Lite and I found it fast. Now as 0.facebook.com is to come, one can hope that it’ll be optimized for pace too. --------

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