Google Retires Web Light Web Page Transcoding

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Google announced they are retiring the seven year old Web Light service that enhanced webpages for devices on sluggish mobile devices and mobile connections.

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

Google Web Light

Introduced in 2015, the purpose of the Web Light service was to make more of the web accessible to users in countries with slow mobile connections and gadgets.

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

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

Web Light previously dealt with Chrome and Android web browsers and only when Google spotted a slow connection. The performance did not activate for desktop gadgets or tablets, just for mobile devices on slow connections.

Google Analytics still operated in the Web Light optimized pages.

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

So in theory Web Light must not have affected advertisement revenue however rather increased them given that transcoded web pages received approximately 50% more traffic at the time.

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

The now deleted paperwork described the performance of Web Light:

“Google reveals quicker, lighter pages to people browsing on sluggish mobile customers.

To do this, we transcode (transform) web pages on the fly into a version optimized for slow clients, so that these pages fill faster while conserving data.

This technology is called Web Light.

Web Light pages protect a majority of the relevant material and provide a link for users to see the initial page. “

Web Light No Longer Required

Seven years later, the schedule of low-cost but effective mobile devices and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the need of the service no longer required.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile information usage in India during 2021 took place over 4G gadgets.

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

The Google developer documentation for Web Light was gotten rid of and a note was contributed to Google’s User Agent documents to communicate that the Web Light user representative is retired.

Google’s announcement specified:

“Eliminated the Web Light documentation and retired the Web Light user agent.

We presented Web Light to allow us to serve much faster, lighter pages to people browsing on entry-level devices.

While this function has actually worked as intended and made it possible for more comprehensive access to the richness of the web, increased cost of more powerful mobile phones has actually lessened the requirement for such performance.

We stay committed to developing and improving the Search experience to satisfy the changing needs of our users.”

Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero