Facebook has grown exponentially since it first burst onto the scene. It has grown so much that it needed to split its main services into two apps: the Facebook app handles all of the classic social network activity while Facebook Messenger handles all of the direct messaging activity.
Then, in true Facebook style, both of these apps have grown and grown since that fateful split occurred. They’ve grown so much that they themselves needed to be split. We now have the full Facebook and Messenger apps and the much more limited Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite apps, which only take up a few megabytes and offer very limited versions of their respective experiences.
With such a history behind the Lite Facebook apps, it should probably come as no surprise that they themselves are due to grow and take on new features.
Messenger Lite is getting animated GIF support and other features from the full-size app
In a recent blog post, Facebook outlined a number of changes and few new features coming to the Messenger Lite app. New features coming to a Lite app could mean that it becomes a little less “lite”, but according to the blog post, even with the new features crammed in, Messenger Lite still comes in at less than 10MB. So, let’s look at these new features in a little more detail.
Messenger Lite has always had GIF support, but they’ve never been animated. All you could send was a frozen screenshot. Now this has changed. Speaking in the blog post announcing the update, Product Manager, Krish Gali, Said, “While you could receive GIFs in Messenger Lite for some time, they were not animated. Starting now, people can express themselves more in chats with family and friends by sending and playing animated GIFs… To send a GIF, use a third-party keyboard (such as the Google keyboard), search for GIFs in their library, and send a more expressive message.”
The other features coming to Messenger Lite, that mirror recent changes to full Messenger app, include more customization options for chats and groups. When the update drops, Lite users will be able to change the color schemes of chats with different people and groups and will also have access to more emojis.
All-in-all these changes mark a positive upgrade on the very basic Messenger Lite experience. Although it is impressive to see how much Facebook has squeezed into the Lite versions of its two main apps, they do both offer rather basic, and sometimes frustrating, experiences. As long as added features don’t slow down app performance or take up a lot more space on users’ phones, they’ll always be a welcome addition. Top work on the new features, but more growth for the Lite apps please Facebook.