Instagram Lite quietly goes live on Google Play

The lightweight version of the photo-sharing app is only 573 kilobytes.

Instagram has followed in its parent company's footsteps and launched a lightweight version of its app on Google Play. Like its Facebook and Messenger counterparts, Instagram Lite was created for users in developing nations. Since it's only 573 kilobytes instead of 32MB like the main app, even those with older phones or devices with small storage on the lower-end of the pricing spectrum can use it. The application's smaller size also makes it possible for people who only have access to slow or intermittent internet connection to download it from Google Play.

The photocentric social network has quietly slipped the new Lite application into Google Play without so much as an announcement. Probably because it's not quite available to a lot of people yet -- a spokesperson told TechCrunch that Instagram has only started testing Lite in Mexico this week: "We are testing a new version of Instagram for Android that takes up less space on your device, uses less data, and starts faster," he said in a statement.

While the stripped-down version of the app allows users to upload and view photos and Stories, as well as to use the Explore tab, it still lacks some key features. Users can't share videos through it, which makes sense, because it was created specifically for those who might only have access to slow internet connection. The app also lacks direct messaging, most likely to save on storage space. Instagram might or might not reassess the lack of those features, depending on its trial's results -- it also remains to be seen whether it will release the app in its home country to provide US-based users a non-bloated option like Facebook did.