Facebook described its lighter cousin as an attempt to create a version that loads certain tools quickly and easily. "Facebook Lite is a faster, simpler way to keep in touch with your friends. If you like it, you may choose to use it instead of the regular Facebook," the company said in an introductory note on the site.
Facebook added it plans to introduce additional features to Facebook Lite in the coming weeks and asked users for their reactions. "We still have work to do before it's done, but we'd love to get your feedback on what we've built so far," Facebook said.
The truncated features could make Facebook a better fit for mobile devices, while some commentators have described the project as part of a plan to add a microblogging service that could eventually challenge reigning champ Twitter.
Officials said the company plans to introduce Facebook Lite "in countries where we are seeing lots of new users coming to Facebook for the first time and are looking to start off with a more simple experience." As of Friday, Facebook Lite was available in the U.S. and India.
Some observers suspect Facebook is looking to add a bevy of new features in order to position itself as a one-stop site for social networking, blogging, and search—perhaps even taking onGoogle .
Facebook last month introduced beefed up search features that allow users to search for 30 days worth of news feeds, status updates, photos, links, and videos. Also in August, Facebook announced the acquisition of Friendfeed, which aggregates posts from a variety of social networking sites.