Facebook Lite Now Available, as Facebook Lets Friends Play Tag

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-09-11

Facebook can brag of a busy Sept. 10, 2009.

The social network released the FriendFeed Web server to open source, which readers can learn more about here. The company also launched its Facebook Lite version and began rolling out a new tagging feature for the site.

Facebook Lite, which eWEEK reported on last month, is a faster, albeit stripped down version of the social network designed for countries that have bandwidth speed or cost constraints.

In a side-by-side comparison, the differences are striking. Facebook Lite seems to hark back to 2006, when the social network was lean. That was before it became cluttered with new features, applications and, well, more content than most users know what to do with.

Lite's news feed lets users write, post photos and videos, but unlike the fatter Facebook, there is no toolbar for enabling access to Facebook Pages, Status Updates, Photos and Links. Lite's profile pages are leaner, too. While the middle column of users' profiles in Facebook Lite looks similar to that of the regular Facebook profile, the left and right columns in Lite are pretty bare, lacking the glut of photos, ads, applications and gaming invites of the original Facebook.

Lite is lighter, in the sense that moving from tab to tab is noticeably faster than the regular Facebook. This is sure to make it popular with users craving speed over the fatness of all of Facebook's features.

Facebook said Lite is being previewed in the United States and India, but is currently in English only. Read more about this speedy version on TechMeme here.

Facebook also is in the process of improving its tagging functionality, taking a page out of Twitter's popular yet simple @ function to tag users.

When users want to add a friend's name in status updates and other posts from the Facebook Publisher, they can include the @ symbol before that friend's name, according to Facebook engineer Tom Occhino, who wrote:

"As you type the name of what you would like to reference, a drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends and other connections, including groups, events, applications and Pages."

Friends tagged in status updates will receive a notification and a Wall post linking them to a post. Friends will also have the option to remove tags of themselves from posts. The @ symbol will not be displayed in the published status update or post after tags have been added.

Facebook is in the process of rolling this feature out to its 250 million-plus users over the next few weeks. Eventually, users will be able to tag friends from applications as well with the @ symbol. Read more about this feature here on TechMeme.

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