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 websites for gadgets on slow mobile devices and mobile connections.

The official Google designer page documents 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 accessible to users in nations with slow mobile connections and devices.

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

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

Web Light previously worked on Chrome and Android internet browsers and just when Google detected a slow connection. The functionality did not trigger for desktop gadgets or tablets, only for mobile devices on slow connections.

Google Analytics still worked in the Web Light optimized pages.

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

So in theory Web Light should not have impacted advertisement earnings however rather increased them given that transcoded websites received as much as 50% more traffic at the time.

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

The now erased paperwork described the functionality of Web Light:

“Google shows quicker, lighter pages to individuals browsing on slow mobile clients.

To do this, we transcode (transform) web pages on the fly into a variation enhanced for sluggish clients, so that these pages pack much faster while saving data.

This technology is called Web Light.

Web Light pages maintain a majority of the pertinent material and supply a link for users to see the initial page. “

Web Light No Longer Needed

Seven years later on, the availability of affordable but powerful mobile phones and an improvement in mobile connection speeds made the necessity of the service no longer necessary.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile information 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 added to Google’s User Representative documentation to interact that the Web Light user agent is retired.

Google’s statement specified:

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

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

While this feature has worked as intended and enabled more comprehensive access to the richness of the web, increased cost of more powerful smart devices has decreased the need for such performance.

We stay committed to evolving and refining the Browse experience to satisfy the changing requirements of our users.”

Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero