Pinterest launches a new ‘Lite’ app for emerging markets

Pinterest is the latest tech company to introduce a “Lite” version of its mobile application to meet the needs of users in emerging markets. With Pinterest Lite, launched on Monday, users will benefit from a faster download and an app that takes up less storage space on their mobile device, the company says.

Pinterest previously offered a Pinterest Lite app on Google Play, but this app was pulled a year ago, according to data from App Annie.

The new Pinterest Lite app is actually Pinterest’s Progressive Web App (PWA) that’s been made available to Google Play users as a download, the company tells TechCrunch.

This is a project that’s been underway for some time, according to a post last year on Pinterest’s Engineering blog. There, the company acknowledged that its mobile web experience had been “terrible” and in need of an update.

In July 2017, Pinterest formed a team to rewrite the mobile web app from scratch as a PWA. It said this would offer a better experience for people in low-bandwidth environments and on limited data plans.

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The Pinterest Lite mobile app is available today to Android users in Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Mexico, and clocks in at a tiny 1.4 MB. The main Pinterest app’s size varies by device on Android, but is significantly larger. On iOS, it’s 143.1 MB, for comparison’s sake.

“The goal is to bring Pinterest to everyone around the world so they can discover inspiration related to their interests wherever they might be,” a Pinterest spokesperson said, when reached for comment about the Pinterest Lite launch.

Pinterest is now one of many top publishers who offer a “Lite” version of their flagship apps.

Google has a full suite of lightweight “Go”-branded apps, like Google Go, Gmail Go, Files Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go and Google Assistant Go. There’s also Facebook LiteInstagram LiteMessenger LiteTwitter LiteUber LiteSpotify Lite, TikTok Lite, Skype Lite and LINE Lite, to name a few others. Tinder had also said earlier this year it was working on a Tinder Lite app to better serve the Indian market. That app quietly launched over the summer.

Offering a Lite app is a baseline requirement these days for competing in emerging markets.

Pinterest, in particular, has been working to expand its global footprint, and recently reported international revenue was up 199%, to $24 million in Q2, and international monthly users were up 38% to 215 million, out of a total of 300 million users. However, the U.S. continues to drive the majority of Pinterest’s revenue, contributing $153 million of the total $261 million reported in Q2.

Image credit: Pinterest