Online Innovation August 17th, 2009
In a deft move that could pose a very serious challenge to Twitter’s growing popularity, Facebook has announced that it is launching a newer, simplified version of the Facebook platform called Facebook Lite. This announcement came closely on the heels of Facebook’s recent acquisition of Friendfeed and raised several eyebrows why Facebook would want to launch a stripped down version of its website.
This stripped down version of the Facebook platform closely resembles Twitter. It features a left- navigation with four main categories namely a wall, info, friends and photos & videos and gives your most recent status updates and the updates of your friends. There is no denying that “Facebook Lite” is singularly aimed at taking Twitter head on as Facebook strives to find ways to meet the growing buzz that Twitter has.
Recent trends among internet users suggest that people use more than one social network to stay in touch with their friends and families. What people aren’t sure about is whether people are using both because they each offers something the other does not. Facebook Lite is aimed at satisfying the needs of Twitter users and should help answer that question.
According to Facebook’s official announcement, ”We are currently testing a simplified alternative to Facebook that loads a specific set of features quickly and efficiently. Similar to the Facebook experience you get on your mobile phones, Facebook “Lite” is a fast-loading, simplified version of Facebook that enables people to make comments, accept Friend requests, write on people’s Walls, and look at photos and Status updates. We are currently testing Facebook Lite in countries where we are seeing lots of new users coming to Facebook for the first time and are looking to start off with a more simple experience.”
“This evening, the test was temporarily exposed to a larger set of users by mistake. We have not opened up access to http://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 http://Facebook.com as usual”.
Facebook lite is a hot topic of discussion on Twitter with many even suggesting that it’s the “Twitter killer”. In my opinion, Facebook made a wise move to incorporate all the simplified and less personal features of Twitter into Facebook Lite. Facebook Lite may not kill Twitter; but it very well may now be able to find out if they can put a dent in the booming popularity that Twitter has created.
If Facebook had only thought of this opportunity just 12 months ago then Twitter may very well have never received the recognition it has received.