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Googleweblight – Move Fast, Break Things?

We just sent an email to the Google Weblight team and here is an edited version of the same. For the ones who aren’t clear on what GoogleWeblight is, look this up. Here is how Google describes it:

Google shows faster, lighter pages to people searching on slow mobile connections in selected countries. To do this, we transcode (convert) web pages on the fly into a version optimized for slow networks, so that these pages load faster while saving data. These optimized pages preserve a majority of the relevant content and provide a link for users to view the original page. 

Dear Google,

Thank you for trying to make the web faster (Again) with Google Weblight. I appreciate your efforts and also the fact that you are preserving ads on these pages. But It is not working and you need to work to fix it immediately.

Here are issues I have with Google Weblight:

Here is how our site looks with and without Weblight (Images on right are Weblight versions):

Mobile-Homepage-Weblight

 

Produ

 

– If I disable Google Weblight on my site (pricebaba.com) by using the HTTP header configuration you suggested, Google search result page shows a warning “Slow to Load” next to my result. If I allow Weblight, the site breaks and is beyond usable. My feeling is that this would work fine for news sites, not for products like ours.

 

Weblight-Slow-To-Load

 

– There is no guidelines (or timeline) for developers to make their site compatible with Google Weblight and have a usable experience. We made our site responsive (just as you recommended) and used a good framework to do so. Now you are breaking it for us without warning or remedy.

 

Users have no option to disable Weblight. They should get to choose to opt out, not manually press a button each time they want to see the original site with full features.

 

I am seeing Weblight on desktop today that too with a 16 Mbps connection. I don’t think I need to see this on desktop myself or show broken websites to my audience. Remember opting out looks scary because of the ‘Slow to Load’ icon next to search results.

 

Here is how Kickstarter loaded for me earlier today: 

 

Screenshot 2015-09-30 15.41.32

 

Here is how our site loads: 

 

Original Version

 

Screenshot 2015-09-30 20.39.43

 

Weblight Version: 

 

Screenshot 2015-09-30 20.39.30

 

– You can see that people are mad about this (simple twitter search)

 

People Hate Weblight

 

– You can see that lot of people are using this too (because of no alternative of course) –

 

Google Weblight Usage

 

So slow down a bit, help developers make Weblight friendly pages? We are up for your commitment to make the web work faster, but just don’t break it like this. 
Annkur P Agarwal

Annkur P Agarwal is a mobile enthusiast who is fascinated by the ways in which mobile is changing our world.

2 Comments

    • Max Peters
    • December 18, 2015

    Did you get a reply?

    Have a similar issue, you cannot buy anything with Googleweblight version of our site, press add to cart and just loads a blank screen.

    Reply
  1. Thats true,this issue faced by others.Google should make web light more mobile friendly.
    Thank you Annkur for discussing

    Reply

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