Google Retires Web Light Website Transcoding

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Google announced they are retiring the 7 years of age Web Light service that enhanced websites for gadgets on slow mobile phones and mobile connections.

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

Google Web Light

Presented in 2015, the purpose of the Web Light service was to make more of the web available to users in nations 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 increase in speed over the slower 2G mobile networks.

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

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

Google Analytics still worked in the Web Light optimized pages.

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

So in theory Web Light should not have actually impacted advertisement earnings but rather increased them given that transcoded web pages got up to 50% more traffic at the time.

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

The now deleted documentation described the functionality of Web Light:

“Google reveals faster, lighter pages to people browsing on slow mobile clients.

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

This technology is called Web Light.

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

Web Light No Longer Needed

7 years later on, the schedule of inexpensive however effective mobile devices and an improvement in mobile connection speeds made the necessity of the service no longer essential.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile information usage in India throughout 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 documents for Web Light was removed and a note was added to Google’s User Representative paperwork to communicate that the Web Light user representative is retired.

Google’s announcement stated:

“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 individuals browsing on entry-level gadgets.

While this feature has worked as intended and allowed wider access to the richness of the web, increased affordability of more effective smart devices has actually diminished the need for such performance.

We remain dedicated to evolving and improving the Search experience to meet the changing needs of our users.”

Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero