Many people don't know this nowadays, but posting to Twitter doesn't actually require a data connection. This, just like the 140-symbol limit, is a holdover from the days when tweeting was done via sending a text message, a feature which is actually still available today. Still, it's a clunky and sometimes costly solution to the problem of data caps, so today Twitter, following in Facebook's footsteps
, has announced a new, lightweight version of its service, called Twitter Lite.
Unlike Facebook's data-saving solution, however, Twitter Lite isn't an app at all – in fact, it's a slightly reworked version of the service's mobile website, but with new capabilities that bring it closer to app territory. Twitter claims its new site offers up to 30% faster launch times, as well as up to 70% less data usage, the latter of which is achieved thanks to an optional data saver feature.
What's more interesting, however, is the newly-added ability of the site to send push notifications to its users through the web browser. This is a late but nevertheless welcome proof that Google's websites-as-apps idea has some merit, though it remains to be seen whether users will actually take advantage of it. And in fact, Google seems to have had a hand in making the site: "Twitter Lite is a new type of Progressive Web App (PWA) developed in partnership with Google."
Twitter Lite should be available worldwide right now, and works with most of the popular mobile and desktop web browsers. It can be accessed by navigating to Twitter's mobile website, mobile.twitter.com
. Although it's targeted primarily towards emerging markets, those with restricted data caps or bad connections can use it just the same, though for push notifications to work, the site must be kept running in the background, which can prove to be a mild inconvenience.