When COVID-19 closed the Facebook Inc. offices in Tel Aviv, Michelle Lourie found herself working in a shed on the kibbutz where she lives with her family in Israel. It’s a far cry from Tel Aviv, a city techno-edgy enough to merit being called the world’s startup capital. In addition to fielding visits from her three small children in her new digs, the product manager had to contend with the bleats of goats grazing outside and an internet connection that was spotty at best.
It was the perfect setting for her latest project.
Over the past year, Lourie and her team in Tel Aviv developed Instagram Lite in collaboration with a New York–based team including Instagram engineering, product, design and research.
This new app for Android is designed to provide people living in rural and remote communities with a high-quality Instagram experience using minimal data.
The app, which is rolling out in more than 170 countries, arrived not a moment too soon. During the past year, Instagram has become a lifeline for many to connect with loved ones or find a small moment of inspiration, be it a photo of a friend’s newborn or a video of puppies discovering snow.