Facebook launches new mobile site

Facebook has launched a new mobile site that is trying to make the social-networking experience quicker and less data-intensive.

0.facebook.com is aimed primarily at emerging markets and it is a relatively bare-bones version of the site. Judging from the screen shots, it kind of reminds me of the experimental Facebook Lite, but the main elements of this new site are:

* It’s fast: 0.facebook.com includes all the key features of our standard mobile site m.facebook.com. Users can update their status, view their News Feed, like or comment on posts, send and reply to messages, or write on their friends’ Wall just as they do on Facebook.com. Rather than making photos viewable on 0.facebook.com, we put the photos one click away so they don’t slow down the experience. You can still view any photos on Facebook if you want but your regular data fees will apply.

* It’s free: Thanks to the help of mobile operators we collaborated with, people can access 0.facebook.com without any data charges. Using 0.facebook.com is completely free. People will only pay for data charges when they view photos or when they leave 0.facebook.com to browse other mobile sites. When they click to view a photo or browse another mobile site a notification page will appear to confirm that they will be charged if they want to leave 0.facebook.com

I can’t view the site on my device because my carriers don’t support it but the move shows the growing importance of the mobile space for the world’s largest social network. While having fancy smartphone apps and system-wide integration with the iPhone is great, the company is looking at the bigger picture. It knows that hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people will first experience the Internet on a phone and it is trying to establish itself early with that crowd. It’s a smart, strategic move that should pay dividends down the road.

[Via Facebook blog]

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