Instagram follows in the footsteps of Facebook with the launch of a lightweight version on Google Play.

Instagram Lite is here. The inevitable launch of a “lite” version of the image-based social network has finally come as the Facebook-owned company aims to reach a wider pool of users who’s devices simply can’t run the full-fat version of Instagram.

Over the last couple of years, Facebook brought lightweight versions of Facebook and Messenger to Android in a bid to capture new users on low-end handsets. Now, with Instagram Lite, those running on budget or older phones can still enjoy sharing and browsing the social network.

Instagram Lite manages to work with older devices as it strips out many of the features that make the standard Instagram app so bulky. Core features such as taking, viewing and uploading photos, along with making and watching Stores, are still present. However, Instagram has cut away the ability to share videos and send direct messages to others.

It’s also likely Instagram Lite will cut out Instagram’s latest, and rather curious, feature of group video chat.

The decision to remove such features is, in part, to help slice Instagram’s 32MB file size down to a connection-friendly 573KB. The obvious space saving comes from culling direct messaging, but the focus on removing video sharing is a clear play to help reduce data demands so those with small data contracts or with slow internet connections can still use the service without missing out too much.

Instagram Lite is currently listed on the Google Play Store but, at the time of writing, it’s listed as unavailable for any devices. According to Engadget, this is because it’s currently still in a trial phase in Mexico – meaning Instagram probably don’t want it being downloaded by everyone right now.

Currently there’s no confirmation of a wider release but, going by both Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite, chances are one will come in due time. Despite the focus on lower-end handsets, it’s unlikely Facebook will actually stop anyone from installing Instagram Lite on more powerful devices – even though there’s absolutely no need for it to be.

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