Google Retires Web Light Website Transcoding

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Google announced they are retiring the 7 years of age Web Light service that optimized web pages for gadgets 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 available to users in countries with slow mobile connections and gadgets.

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

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

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

Google Analytics still worked 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 should not have impacted ad revenue however rather increased them because transcoded web pages got up to 50% more traffic at the time.

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

The now deleted documents explained the performance of Web Light:

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

To do this, we transcode (convert) websites on the fly into a version optimized for slow customers, so that these pages pack faster while saving information.

This innovation is called Web Light.

Web Light pages maintain a majority of the appropriate material and offer a link for users to see the original page. “

Web Light No Longer Required

7 years later on, the accessibility of inexpensive but effective mobile phones and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the need of the service no longer needed.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile information use in India throughout 2021 took place over 4G devices.

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

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

Google’s statement mentioned:

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

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

While this feature has actually worked as designated and allowed broader access to the richness of the web, increased cost of more effective smartphones has lessened the need for such functionality.

We remain committed to evolving and refining the Browse experience to meet the altering needs of our users.”

Included image by SMM Panel/Asier Romero