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 devices on sluggish 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 sluggish mobile connections and gadgets.

The service worked by enhancing webpages 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 browsers and only when Google spotted a slow connection. The performance did not set off for desktop gadgets or tablets, just for mobile devices on slow connections.

Google Analytics still worked in the Web Light optimized pages.

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

So in theory Web Light must not have actually affected advertisement revenue but rather increased them because transcoded websites received up to 50% more traffic at the time.

The service was initially introduced in Indonesia and then to India.

The now erased paperwork explained the functionality of Web Light:

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

To do this, we transcode (transform) web pages on the fly into a version enhanced for slow customers, so that these pages pack much faster while conserving information.

This innovation is called Web Light.

Web Light pages preserve a majority of the appropriate content and offer a link for users to see the initial page. “

Web Light No Longer Required

Seven years later on, the accessibility of economical however effective mobile devices and an enhancement in mobile connection speeds made the requirement of the service no longer required.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile data use in India throughout 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 eliminated and a note was contributed to Google’s User Representative documents to communicate that the Web Light user agent is retired.

Google’s statement stated:

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

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

While this feature has actually worked as designated and made it possible for broader access to the richness of the web, increased cost of more powerful smartphones has actually diminished the need for such performance.

We stay dedicated to progressing and refining the Browse experience to fulfill the changing needs of our users.”

Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero