Instagram’s aspiration to become the photo app for the whole world, even if you can’t or won’t download it, has evolved further. In pursuit of international growth in areas where networks are slow and data is expensive, Instagram has given its mobile website an upgrade that adds core features of the main app, including photo sharing and a lightweight version of the Explore tab.
Until now, users could only browse make use of the app’s basic functions on the stripped-down mobile and desktop sites. While there’s still no posting from the desktop site, in March Instagram began adding sharing from mobile web, and the Explore tab is currently being rolled out. The features missing on mobile web are video uploads, filters, Stories, and Direct Messaging.
With the expanded mobile web version, users can skip the app download’s wait time, data costs, and storage needs – while still getting the basic functionality. The launch begs the question of whether Instagram will release an Instagram Lite version of its native app, like the data transfer-minimizing Facebook Lite app that has reached 200 million users, and the new Messenger Lite app.