The interwebs are abuzz with the news that Facebook is testing a new, streamlined version of its service called “Facebook Lite”. From a first glance at the leaked screenshots it appears to be far more Twitter like having just status updates but with Comments and Likes enabled. Some might say that it looks more like Friendfeed from a while back when the service was still quite new.
The emergence of Facebook Lite shortly after the aquisition of Friendfeed seems more than a coincidence but, according to TechCrunch it is designed for use in areas where download speeds are slow so we should not get over excited at present.
Whether or not Facebook Lite develops beyond a low bandwidth version of the site or becomes the frameowrk for something else remains to be seen. If it is kept free from all the clutter that plagues the normal version, then it could be the perfect vehicle for Friendfeed integration. If you add in additional import functionality then Lite has the potential to essentially become a Friendfeed clone – Facebook as it used to be: just for sharing info.
We don’t need to be told who has achieved what on Farmville, or poked, or invited to play Mafia Wars – this was the joy of the Friendfeed service and what really caught the imagination: a place to share, connect and discuss without the limitations of 140 characters.
Regardless of any change in functionality or version, however, a primary sticking point between the methods of operation of Facebook and Friendfeed is the actual friending behaviour. Facebook requires mutual friending but on Friendfeed (just like Twitter and other services) friending can be unilateral or not even required at all in order to interact with another user.
If Facebook could release a version without the need for mutual friending that includes full, real time search then we could be on to a winner.