Facebook’s full version of the Messenger app may be able to pull off some neat tricks to vastly improve one’s messaging experience on mobile. It is not for nothing that the app has an estimated 1.2 billion people using it monthly. But a majority of these Messenger users are also aware of the platform’s shortcomings: the massive data usage in return for the occasional slowdown, and its Snapchat-like fluff features. Until recently, only users outside the US and other countries with high-tier internet infrastructure have found relief from that app bloat.

Their alternative is Messenger Lite, which was introduced stateside last week. And the users who have tried it agree that "lighter" is better after all.

The price of bloated features

Since their advent on the internet decades ago, online messaging platforms tend to eventually fall out of use (in favor of newer messenger apps) because of bloated functions and features. It can be hard to believe that back in the 90s the platforms of choice were AOL IM/AIM (due to close at year’s end) and MSN Messenger, which held the domain name on .com before it shut down in 2013 and Facebook got it. Long story short -, when a messaging app gets too busy with features, it risks being dropped as it is too convoluted.

Facebook Messenger – the original full version – is on the verge of doing too much beyond its original purpose as well. After all, do you really need your messaging platform to be capable of ordering an Uber ride? The extras are also murder for a user’s internet data plan, so the best course of action is definitely to trim the fat.

It is no surprise then that as soon as Messenger Lite became available for Android in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland, the online communities there just lapped it up like a breath of fresh air.

Only vital services

The sheer simplicity of Facebook Messenger Lite in comparison to the original is plain to see on its interface. Instead of the multitude of tabs and tabs within tabs, Lite only offers three: Home (list of existing chats), Contacts and Profile.

True, one’s options are severely limited, but it is faster and less bot-ridden than its big brother. And at 10MB, it takes up less space than full Messenger in one’s smartphone or tablet memory. That means there is less battery consumption, too.

If there is only one significant issue with going over to Messenger Lite, it is that the app is an Android exclusive on Google Play. iPhone/iOS users are stuck with the full version on the App Store. Facebook does not seem to be interested in rectifying that issue for now. Then again, iMessage probably does not need the competition.