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Google search has retired Web Light, Google’s method of serving faster and lighter pages to users

Google has discontinued Web Light, Google’s system to speed up the delivery of pages and content to users with slow internet connections. Google said, “while this feature has worked as intended and enabled broader access to the richness of the web, increased affordability of more powerful smartphones has diminished the need for such functionality.”

What was Web Light. Google created Web Light in 2015, as Google Lite. It was intended to assist those who have slow mobile connections. Google would then take the page and remove most of the media. It would only show the text of each page to the searcher. In 2018, Google even added a Search Console filter to see what pages were being served over Web Light.

Google’s message. Google’s message. This feature worked as intended. It allowed for greater access to the richness and depth of the web. However, more powerful smartphones have made it less affordable.

Web light user agent has been retired. With this news, Google retired the user agent for Web Light named “googleweblight.” So you should no longer see this user agent showing up in your log files.

Documentation removed. Google also removed help documentation for Web Light. You can only access them by going to the Wayback Machine.

Why do we care? Some publishers didn’t like Web Light, believing it would result in lower revenue. Publishers don’t like web pages or content that aren’t as expected. This feature has been removed.

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About the Author

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He also serves as a member the programming team for SMX Events. He is the owner of RustyBrick, an NY-based web consulting company. He also owns Search Engine Roundtable, which is a popular blog about advanced SEM topics. Barry can be reached at on Twitter here.

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