Google Retires Web Light Webpage Transcoding

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Google announced they are retiring the seven years of age Web Light service that optimized web pages for gadgets on sluggish mobile devices and mobile connections.

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

Google Web Light

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

The service worked by enhancing webpages so that downloading them used 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 web browsers and only when Google identified a sluggish connection. The performance did not set off for desktop gadgets or tablets, just for mobile phones on slow connections.

Google Analytics still functioned in the Web Light enhanced pages.

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

So in theory Web Light should not have impacted advertisement earnings however rather increased them considering that transcoded webpages received up to 50% more traffic at the time.

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

The now deleted paperwork explained the functionality of Web Light:

“Google shows faster, lighter pages to people searching on sluggish mobile customers.

To do this, we transcode (convert) web pages on the fly into a variation optimized for sluggish clients, so that these pages fill much faster while conserving information.

This technology is called Web Light.

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

Web Light No Longer Needed

7 years later, the availability of affordable however powerful mobile phones and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the requirement of the service no longer necessary.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile data use 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 developer documents for Web Light was gotten rid of and a note was added to Google’s User Agent documentation to communicate that the Web Light user agent is retired.

Google’s announcement mentioned:

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

We introduced Web Light to enable us to serve quicker, lighter pages to people browsing on entry-level devices.

While this feature has actually worked as desired and made it possible for more comprehensive access to the richness of the web, increased cost of more effective mobile phones has lessened the need for such functionality.

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

Featured image by SMM Panel/Asier Romero