Facebook goes Zero for mobiles

Facebook - from hero to...
Facebook - from hero to...

Facebook has announced to Mobile World Congress that it will be releasing a text-only, low-bandwidth version of the social networking site "in the coming weeks."

The site (http://zero.facebook.com) is already live, but people will only be able to use it when it's been adopted by networks. Given that Facebook claims that over 100 million people worldwide access the site from their mobiles, expect that to happen very soon.

The GSM Association says that of the time people spend online on their mobiles, almost half is at Facebook. In December alone it accounted for 2.2 billion minutes.

According to a Facebook spokesman: "'Zero' is a light-weight version of m.facebook.com that omits data intensive applications like Photos.

"It will launch in coming weeks and we are discussing it at MWC as an option to make Facebook on the mobile web available to everyone, anywhere and allow operators to encourage more mobile Internet usage."

Adds to Facebook Lite

Facebook already offers Facebook Lite, aimed more at the developing world, where Internet connections can be very slow. It cuts out some data-intensive applications. That customisation has helped increase the social network's penetration globally.

The site does work with mobile operators, and already has mobile versions for different handsets. This, however, strips everything right back, which will please the networks, as it should free up bandwidth.

The only problem is that it's much harder to upload embarrassing text.