At a time when pundits are taking a jibe at Facebook and forecasting that it has seen its peak, the world’s largest social network is hunting for developing markets. The social network with 1.11 billion monthly active users (as of March, 2013) has been quietly working on its ‘Lighter’ Facebook for the developing market which has a dominance of feature phones.
The Facebook project– “Facebook For Every Phone” has announced that there are now more than 100 million people using the technology and getting accustomed to the world of social networks. The app that enables people around the globe to connect to the people on Facebook without having to purchase a smartphone, has seen acceptance from markets like India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Stressing about the acceptance, Facebook also revealed that the fast and easy to use app works on more than 3000 different types of feature phones from almost every handset manufacturer that exists today. Additionally, Facebook has partnerships with mobile operators around the world to offer free or discounted data access to “Facebook For Every Phone.”
The app provides a comprehensive Facebook experience which has been possible by the Snaptu technology, an Israel-based mobile platform that Facebook had acquired in 2011.
Speaking about the project “Facebook For Every Phone” which was launched in July, 2011, Ran Makavy who co-founded Snaptu and today runs the project added,
“We joined the Facebook Growth Team in California as part of an acquisition in 2011. Our small team relaunched Snaptu as Facebook For Every Phone in July of that same year, and grew the user base to where it is today. Snaptu’s platform uses the power of servers to accelerate and optimize the way mobile apps work, and is the key to providing a great user experience on low-end devices.”
Today the app is not only providing an affordable experience but includes Facebook’s most popular features, such as News Feed, Messenger and Photos, and provides a complete experience for first-time users, including the ability to create a new account and find friends.
Brian Blau, who studies consumer technologies at the research firm Gartner, said that given Facebook’s mission of linking the entire globe through its service, it needed to reach out to the least tech-savvy customers.
“They talk about socially connecting the world together. They can’t do that until they connect people who don’t have smartphones or computers.”
According to Javier Olivan, who heads Facebook’s growth team, the acquisition of Snaptu unlocked an opportunity for Facebook in countries where people can’t afford costly smartphones or pay to the expensive data plans.
An important milestone for Facebook since the 100 million comes in a time period of two years. Wonder if pundits are still skeptic about the estimated $60-$70 million acquisition of Snaptu by Facebook.
It is just the beginning for Facebook to capture many more developing markets in a mobile first world.
Image courtesy: Huffingtonpost