Instagram Lite
Credits: Facebook

Facebook-the parent parent company behind WhatsApp and Instagram has been talking about launching a lite version of the photos based social media platform for a long time now. However, even years into planning, nothing substantial had come out of Facebook’s factory. Until now. Today, the company has launched a lite version of Instagram called Instagram Lite (no surprise there), aimed at markets in developing countries, like India.

Launched only in 170 countries as of yet, the Lite app has been demanded quite vehemently, specially in low bandwidth countries, where users usually use social media of their android smartphones, like those living in Africa and South Asia as well as some parts of America.

The app itself is currently 2MB in size, which is an increase from the 573kb sized app it released in 2018, which had fewer features, but was pulled back silently last year. This current app was originally launched in December for a limited test in India, with support for various vernacular languages such as Hindi, Gujrati, Tamil, Marathi, Bangla etc.

The current app has many original features of the original 30 MB Instagram app such as basic features of editing, sharing, viewing photos and videos, stickers, Stories etc. But naturally, there have been some minute but still noticeable cuts.

For example, the lite app does not support the dark mode or advertising. Facebook plans to launch these two features in future upgrades of the app (because what good is a social media app without advertising). Other features which are not included are shopping, music option in Stories, the latest emojis, multiple photo collections while posting or insights or special DM features for professional accounts. Users have also reportedly been facing more lags and crashes than the original app.

The layout of the Lite app is similar to the original app though it looks a bit raw.

That being said, the app certainly meets the requirements of the target market in the 170 emerging economies it has been launched in – it provides vernacular language support, is android friendly and runs even on network speeds as low as 2G.

Tzach Hadar, director of product management at Facebook has said, “It uses a lot less data so if you have a small data package you are not going to run out when you use the service. But the aim is for us to give the same breadth of experience you get on Instagram.”

He has also noted that the app may release globally very soon.

The app is instantly popular and has already seen 10M+ downloads and 86K reviews on Play Store. The reviews have an average rating of 3.9 stars.