London, Sep 12 (ANI): Social networking site Facebook has launched a slimmed-down version of its site for people with slow or poor Internet connections, and it is currently available only in India and the US.
Facebook's Lite site, which will be faster and simpler because it offers fewer services than the main site, had initially been meant to support users in developing countries, where bandwidth constraints make the current version too slow to use.
The company said around 70 percent of its more than 250 million users were from outside America, with countries in Southeast Asia and Europe seeing a massive increase in growth where fast Internet connections are more common.
News about Facebook testing the Lite site first leaked out in August, with its options said to be limited to letting users write on their wall, post photos and videos, view events and browse other people's profiles.
"It appears, at a quick glance, to be a better site for Facebook newbies or for anyone who finds the current site overwhelming and noisy," the BBC quoted Rafe Needleman at technology website Cnet as saying.
"The new layout feels almost Twitter-like," he said.
Terence O'Brien at Switched.com gave the slimmed-down version of what he called "ol' blue" the thumbs-up because it "strips away distractions".
"The simple site loads noticeably faster, is easier to navigate, and is much easier on the eyes thanks to the lack of people sending you 'virtual booze' or asking you to join their 'vampire fraternity'," he said.
"The new layout seems like a direct challenge to Twitter, which can attribute much of its success to is simplicity and portability," he stated.
Many industry watchers said they believed that even users with good Internet connections might well flock to Facebook Lite because of its new look and ease of use.
"That is what some US users are planning to do," Eric Eldon of InsideFacebook.com said.
"Indeed the reaction from US users has prompted Facebook to release it intentionally for US users, something it hadn't previously planned on doing," he added.
Eldon also said he believed a "worldwide rollout doesn't seem too far away".
Facebook has acknowledged this is a possibility in a statement on the site, which said the firm was "working on translating Lite into other languages".
Anyone who switches to Facebook Lite and does not like it can switch back to the fuller version of the site. (ANI)