Facebook Tests 'Lite' Version of Service
Facebook is reportedly testing a simplified interface of its social network service with faster load times called Facebook Lite. According to reports from TechCrunch regarding Facebook Lite, the slimmed-down service will be similar to Facebook's mobile version -- Lite would offer only basic functionality such as making comments, accepting friend requests, writing on Walls, and viewing photos. The bare-bones design has a one-column display of Wall posts, with three buttons at the top that let you write messages or post photos and video. There are also four links on the left under your profile picture: "Wall," "Info," "Friends," and "Photos and Video."
The idea behind Facebook Lite is to create a service that can be accessed relatively quickly for parts of the world where broadband Internet speeds are either unavailable or not widespread, according to TechCrunch. That makes a lot of sense, since the standard Facebook interface has become a feature-rich experience that can tax even a decent broadband connection. Facebook reportedly wanted to create a simplified experience to entice new users, in addition to creating a site with faster load times.
News of Facebook Lite leaked late last night when Facebook mistakenly sent invites to a wide range of users to try out the new service. However, when users followed the link provided to test the simpler version they were unable to access it.
TechCrunch said it received this response from Facebook about the mix-up: "This evening, the test [of Facebook Lite] was temporarily exposed to a larger set of users by mistake. We have not opened up access to lite.facebook.com to all users at this time. People who are not part of the test and are trying to access "Lite" will be directed to Facebook.com as usual."
So far Facebook hasn't said whether users in the United States would be able to try out Facebook Lite anytime soon. But I have no doubt a simplified version of Facebook would be welcome among U.S. users who prefer a simpler experience, as well as regions of the country that still lack broadband Internet access.
Facebook is not the first social network to offer a lite version. In May, MySpace launched a stripped-down version of its site, called MySpace Lite View, for users worldwide with slower Internet speeds. You can access MySpace's Lite version by visiting any MySpace profile and selecting the 'Lite' option on the left hand side of the navigation bar.