Google Retires Web Light Website Transcoding

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

The main Google developer page documents for Web Light Google and the associated user agent (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 nations with sluggish mobile connections and gadgets.

The service worked by optimizing websites 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 web pages.

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

Google Analytics still worked in the Web Light enhanced 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 impacted ad revenue but rather increased them since transcoded websites got up to 50% more traffic at the time.

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

The now deleted documents explained the functionality of Web Light:

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

To do this, we transcode (convert) websites on the fly into a variation optimized for sluggish customers, so that these pages load much faster while saving information.

This technology is called Web Light.

Web Light pages preserve a majority of the pertinent material and provide a link for users to see the original page. “

Web Light No Longer Required

7 years later, the availability of inexpensive however effective mobile phones and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the necessity of the service no longer needed.

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

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

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

Google’s statement stated:

“Removed the Web Light paperwork and retired the Web Light user representative.

We presented Web Light to allow us to serve quicker, lighter pages to individuals browsing on entry-level devices.

While this function has worked as desired and made it possible for more comprehensive access to the richness of the web, increased cost of more effective smartphones has actually reduced the requirement for such performance.

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

Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero