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 webpages for gadgets on sluggish mobile phones and mobile connections.

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

Google Web Light

Introduced 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 web pages so that downloading them used 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% increase in traffic to webpages.

Web Light previously dealt with Chrome and Android web browsers and only when Google discovered a slow connection. The functionality did not set off for desktop gadgets or tablets, only for mobile phones on slow connections.

Google Analytics still functioned in the Web Light enhanced pages.

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

So in theory Web Light must not have actually impacted ad revenue however rather increased them considering that transcoded webpages 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 described the performance of Web Light:

“Google shows quicker, lighter pages to people searching on slow mobile customers.

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

This technology is called Web Light.

Web Light pages protect a bulk of the pertinent content and provide a link for users to view the initial page. “

Web Light No Longer Needed

Seven years later on, the availability of inexpensive however powerful mobile phones and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the necessity of the service no longer essential.

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

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

The Google designer documentation for Web Light was gotten rid of and a note was contributed to Google’s User Representative documentation to communicate that the Web Light user agent is retired.

Google’s announcement specified:

“Eliminated the Web Light documents and retired the Web Light user representative.

We introduced Web Light to allow us to serve quicker, lighter pages to individuals searching on entry-level gadgets.

While this feature has worked as intended and made it possible for more comprehensive access to the richness of the web, increased cost of more effective smart devices has actually lessened the requirement for such functionality.

We remain committed to progressing and fine-tuning the Browse experience to fulfill the changing requirements of our users.”

Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero