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Facebook sinks Lite

Not enough fluff

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Facebook has shelved its "lite" version for the bandwidth challenged, saying that the service was a learning experience but one that's no longer needed.

Facebook Lite was launched last summer, aimed at developing markets where bandwidth isn't such a ubiquitous commodity, but despite locking some users into it the service was never very popular and now users attempting to connect are instead pushed to the normal Facebook home page.

The problem with cutting the fluff from Facebook is that it's the fluff that people want. Social networking is all very well, but for most users it's about accumulating contacts who can be impressed by your FarmVille score or the size of your castle. Witty comments aside, Facebook Lite couldn't provide that Flash-based interactivity.

But there's still the mobile version of Facebook, which works well enough on the desktop for those who really do just want status updates, as well as the touch version for the iPhone crowd and all sorts of specialist client applications for smartphones and desktops. Most of these reduce the bandwidth requirement to manageable levels. Facebook Zero is only available through cooperating network operators, so we've not had a chance to try it yet.

Facebook hasn't explained why Lite has been dropped, but given the plethora of alternatives and the fact that it cut out some of the most popular features the question is rather why Lite was launched in the first place and how it lasted so long. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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