Google Retires Web Light Web Page Transcoding

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Google announced they are retiring the 7 years of age Web Light service that enhanced web pages for devices on slow mobile devices and mobile connections.

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

Google Web Light

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

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

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

Web Light formerly dealt with Chrome and Android browsers and only when Google identified a slow connection. The performance did not trigger for desktop gadgets or tablets, only for mobile devices on sluggish connections.

Google Analytics still operated in the Web Light enhanced pages.

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

So in theory Web Light ought to not have affected advertisement revenue but rather increased them given that transcoded web pages got as much as 50% more traffic at the time.

The service was first introduced in Indonesia and then to India.

The now deleted documentation described the functionality of Web Light:

“Google shows much faster, lighter pages to individuals browsing on slow mobile clients.

To do this, we transcode (transform) web pages on the fly into a version optimized for sluggish clients, so that these pages fill quicker while saving information.

This technology is called Web Light.

Web Light pages preserve a bulk of the appropriate content and provide a link for users to see the original page. “

Web Light No Longer Needed

7 years later, the availability of economical but powerful mobile phones and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the need of the service no longer essential.

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

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

The Google developer documents for Web Light was eliminated and a note was added to Google’s User Representative paperwork to interact that the Web Light user representative is retired.

Google’s announcement stated:

“Removed 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 gadgets.

While this function has worked as designated and allowed wider access to the richness of the web, increased price of more effective smartphones has diminished the need for such functionality.

We stay committed to evolving and improving the Browse experience to meet the changing needs of our users.”

Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero