Facebook has released scant details about a new stripped down version of Facebook for mobile devices to save precious carrier bandwidth. The site is being dubbed as Facebook Zero, and can be accessed at zero.facebook.com.
A visit to Facebook Zero from a mobile handset, flashes a message that your carrier does not support the service as yet. In essence the site is a lite weight version of m.facebook.com that only offers text. Techcrunch was able to grab an image of the presentation by Chamath Palihapitiya (posted above).
Facebook is offering the app to free up bandwidth on the carrier networks. This would be done by omitting data intensive features like photos and videos. A Facebook spokesperson commented on the app by saying:
“We are discussing it… as an option to make Facebook on the mobile web available to everyone, anywhere and allow operators to encourage more mobile internet usage”.
Carriers could offer Facebook Zero as a free service to its subscribers and decide to charge them if they wish to access the more richer multi-media version. This would be similar to a Freemium model on offer by web based services, whereby a stripped down version of a service is offered for free and the users wishing to get more are asked to switch over to the paid version.
The launch of a freemium Facebook Zero would entice mobile carriers to offer the app (pre-installed) to their subscribers thereby making the Facebook Zero a ubiquitous app on mobile devices.
Facebook is already taking its mobile users seriously and has recently passed the 100 million user mark, that access the social network from mobile devices.