Google Retires Web Light Web Page Transcoding

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Google announced they are retiring the 7 year old Web Light service that optimized websites for gadgets on sluggish mobile devices and mobile connections.

The official Google designer page documents for Web Light Google and the associated user representative (googleweblight) are both retired.

Google Web Light

Introduced in 2015, the function of the Web Light service was to make more of the web available to users in nations with slow mobile connections and gadgets.

The service worked by enhancing websites so that downloading them utilized 80% less data, resulting in a four-fold increase in speed over the slower 2G mobile networks.

According to Google the service in a 50% increase in traffic to websites.

Web Light formerly worked on Chrome and Android browsers and only when Google found a sluggish connection. The functionality did not trigger for desktop gadgets or tablets, just for mobile devices on slow connections.

Google Analytics still functioned in the Web Light optimized pages.

In terms of ad serving, Web Light optimized pages supported Sovrn, Zedo, AdSense, and Google Publisher Tags.

So in theory Web Light need to not have impacted ad revenue but rather increased them because transcoded web pages received approximately 50% more traffic at the time.

The service was first introduced in Indonesia and after that to India.

The now erased documents described the performance of Web Light:

“Google shows much faster, lighter pages to individuals searching on sluggish mobile clients.

To do this, we transcode (convert) web pages on the fly into a variation optimized for sluggish customers, so that these pages load quicker while saving data.

This innovation is called Web Light.

Web Light pages protect a bulk of the appropriate content and offer a link for users to view the original page. “

Web Light No Longer Required

Seven years later, the schedule of inexpensive however effective mobile phones and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the necessity of the service no longer needed.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile information usage in India throughout 2021 happened over 4G devices.

In 2015 there were only 47 million devices that were 4G capable compared to 650 million in 2021.

The Google designer documents for Web Light was removed and a note was added to Google’s User Agent documents to communicate that the Web Light user agent is retired.

Google’s statement specified:

“Gotten Rid Of the Web Light documentation and retired the Web Light user representative.

We presented Web Light to enable us to serve much faster, lighter pages to individuals browsing on entry-level gadgets.

While this feature has worked as intended and allowed broader access to the richness of the web, increased affordability of more effective mobile phones has diminished the need for such performance.

We stay dedicated to developing and fine-tuning the Search experience to meet the altering needs of our users.”

Included image by SMM Panel/Asier Romero