Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Facebook announced during the Fuel for India 2020 event on Wednesday, that it is testing an improved version of Instagram Lite in India. The company plans to test the app in the country to monitor its performance before rolling it out globally.

The previous version of Instagram Lite app was discontinued earlier this year after it ran into some issues. After the discontinuation of the app, it was again spotted with almost no changes, even though Facebook did not acknowledge it. Fortunately, this time, the app has been revamped. The Lite version of Instagram is about 2MB in size and is heavily optimized for performance and efficiency. Since the app is being tested in India, it already supports Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.

The Lite version is targeted at users who own affordable smartphones which do not have the processing power to smoothly run the standard Instagram app, which can be quite resource-heavy. Other than performance optimizations, the app also uses less data and works in all network conditions. But the Lite version is not just an optimized replica of the standard app, as it also comes with a few trade-offs: Reels, IGTV and Shopping are not included.

In principle, it is very similar to Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite, which already have 1+ billion and 500+ million downloads on Google Play Store, respectively. The lighter version of standard apps are preferred by a significant number of users especially in developing countries like India where entry-level and mid-range smartphones dominate the market. And it makes sense why Facebook decided to test the app in the India, which is also the second largest online market in the world.

Besides the announcement of Instagram Lite, Facebook executives and the executives of its subsidiaries like Instagram and WhatsApp made several other announcements for India during the Fuel for India event. The announcement of Born on Instagram 2.0 program, which aims to empower content creators; and WhatsApp’s plan to introduce sachet-sized health insurance for the Indian population, are a couple of such examples.

“India is such an important country for us and has been a testing ground for innovation, thanks to the natural creativity and entrepreneurial spirit we see here. With the test of Instagram Lite, and the next edition of Born on Instagram, we’re aiming to democratize expression and creativity for a greater number of people in India. We’re also hoping to gain valuable insights before a global rollout of Instagram Lite,” Vishal Shah, VP of Product, Instagram, said in a statement.