Open main menu

Accelerated Mobile Pages

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) is a Google-run website publishing technology designed as a competitor to Facebook's Instant Articles[1].

Contents

HistoryEdit

Announcement and launchEdit

The AMP Project was announced by Google on October 7, 2015 following discussions with its partners in the European Digital News Initiative (DNI), and other news publishers and technology companies around the world, about improving the performance of the mobile web. More than 30 news publishers and several technology companies (including Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and WordPress) were initially announced as collaborators in the AMP Project.

AMP pages first appeared to web users in February 2016, when Google began to show the AMP versions of webpages in mobile search results. Initially links to AMP pages were restricted to a “Top Stories” section of Google’s mobile search results; by September 2016 Google started linking to AMP content in the main mobile search results area.[2] AMP links in Google search are identified with an icon.

Growth and expansionEdit

In February 2017, a year after the public launch of AMP, Adobe reported AMP pages accounted for 7% of all web traffic for top publishers in the United States.[3]

In May 2017, Google reported 900,000 web domains were publishing AMP pages with more than two billion AMP pages published globally.[4]

In June 2017 Twitter started linking to AMP pages from its iOS and Android apps.[5]

TechnologyEdit

Online FormatEdit

AMP pages are published on-line and can be displayed in most current browsers.[6] When a standard webpage has an AMP counterpart, a link to the AMP page is usually placed in an HTML tag in the source code of the standard page. Because most AMP pages are easily discoverable by web crawlers, third parties such as search engines and other referring websites can choose to link to the AMP version of a webpage instead of the standard version.

AMP frameworkEdit

The AMP framework consists of three components: AMP HTML, which is standard HTML markup with web components; AMP JavaScript, which manages resource loading; and AMP caches, which serve and validate AMP pages.[7]

Most AMP pages are delivered by Google’s AMP cache, but other companies can support AMP caches. Internet performance and security company Cloudflare launched an AMP cache in March 2017.[8]

Third party integrationEdit

Any organization or individual can build products or features which will work on AMP pages, provided they comply with the AMP Project specifications. As of July 2017, the AMP Project’s website listed around 120 advertising companies and around 30 analytics companies as AMP Project participants.[9]

PerformanceEdit

Google reports that AMP pages served in Google search typically load in less than one second and use 10 times less data than the equivalent non-AMP pages.[10] CNBC reported a 75% decrease in mobile page load time for AMP Pages over non-AMP pages,[11] while Gizmodo reported that AMP pages loaded three times faster than non-AMP pages.[12]

Parity with canonical pagesEdit

Google has announced that as of February 1, 2018 it will require the content of canonical pages and those displayed through AMP be substantially the same.[13] This is aimed at improving the experience of users by avoiding common difficulties with the user interface, and increase security and trust (see below).

Industry ParticipationEdit

Search enginesEdit

Search engines linking to AMP content include Google, Bing,[14] Baidu (China), Sogu (China), Yahoo Japan.[15]

Social platformsEdit

Social and distribution platforms presenting AMP content include Twitter,[16] LinkedIn, Pinterest,[17] Reddit, Nuzzle, Tencent Qzone (China), Weibo (China).

Content publishing platformsEdit

Content publishing platforms supporting AMP include WordPress, Medium, Canvas, Drupal, Squarespace and Tumblr.

eCommerce platformsEdit

eCommerce platforms building pages with AMP include eBay,[18] SnapDeal (India), AliExpress (China), Bigl.ua (Ukraine) and BigCommerce.

Financial servicesEdit

Whilst AMP has been readily embraced for its many positive features in various industries, such as news and media, it has additional benefits for users in other industries, such as the financial services sector.

The AMP methodology provides a website designer the ability to reverse various approaches tried over the years by ensuring all participants operate in an equal environment regardless of the page's type. An obvious, although possibly unintended, example of one of AMP's security features is the elimination of pop-ups. Whilst (according to most neutral observers) pop-ups have a generally negative effect on the overall interactions a user has, within some sectors of the financial services industry, for example, this practice takes unfair advantage of consumers, and commonly goes against the regulatory guidelines of many financial conduct authority bodies, and its wholesale removal from the website's creators ability removes temptation.

As a result, many financial technology companies are embracing the positive elements of the ecosystem, embracing the structured environment as an opportunity to build more engaging websites.

ReceptionEdit

General CriticismEdit

AMP has been widely criticized by many in the tech industry[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] for being an attempt by Google to exert its dominance on the Web by dictating how websites are built and monetized, and that "AMP is Google's attempt to lock publishers into its ecosystem".[32] AMP has also been linked to Google's attempt to deprecate URLs so that users will not be able to immediately see whether they are viewing a webpage on the open Web or an AMP page that is hosted on Google's servers.[33] AMP has been described as being "poisonous to the underlying concept of an open internet."[34]

"There is a sense in which AMP is a Google-built version of the web," Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. "We are moving from a world where you can put anything on your website to one where you can’t because Google says so."... "AMP is an example of Google dialing up its anti-competitive practices under the nose of the competition regulators," said Ramon Tremosa, a Spanish member of the European Parliament[35]

Comparison to other formatsEdit

AMP is often compared to Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News.[36] All three formats were announced in 2015 with the stated goal of making mobile content faster and easier to consume.[37][38] AMP Project supporters claim that AMP is a collaborative effort among publishers and technology companies, and that AMP is designed to work on the web instead of proprietary mobile apps.

Google’s Richard Gingras said:

“There's a very big difference between having a proprietary platform that says it's open, and having an open-source platform that is open to anyone to modify and adapt. It's the difference between saying come into my walled garden vs. not having a walled garden.”[39]

However, some critics believe that AMP is an impending walled garden as Google begins to host AMP-restricted versions of their websites directly on google.com:

They say AMP is not actually supporting the open web because it is a “fork” or variation on HTML and one that Google essentially controls...Some publishers have complained that as Google prioritizes AMP links—as it recently said it will do in mobile search—media companies will lose even more control because AMP pages are hosted and controlled by Google. “Our mobile search traffic is moving to be majority AMP (google hosted and not on our site) which limits our control over UI, monetization et al,” said one digital media executive.[40]

Google controlEdit

Matthew Ingram of Fortune expressed concerns about Google’s role and motives regarding the AMP Project:

“In a nutshell, these publishers are afraid that while the AMP project is nominally open-source, Google is using it to shape how the mobile web works, and in particular, to ensure a steady stream of advertising revenue… More than anything else, the concerns that some publishers have about AMP seems to be part of a broader fear about the loss of control over distribution in a platform-centric world, and the risks that this poses to traditional monetization methods such as display advertising.”[39]

These charges were rebutted by Google. Madhav Chinnappa stated that AMP must be a collaborative industry initiative in order for it to succeed in the long term:

“I get a little bit irritated when sometimes people call it Google’s AMP, because it’s not … AMP was created as an open source initiative and that for me is the reason for its success.”[41]

In September 2018, Google began to transition AMP to a more open governance model, with a technical steering committee composed of AMP-using publishers.[42]

MonetizationEdit

Some publishers reported that AMP pages generate less advertising revenue per page than non-AMP pages.[43] The Wall Street Journal’s Jack Marshall said:

"AMP pages rely heavily on standardized banner ad units, and don’t allow publishers to sell highly-customized ad units, sponsorships or pop-up ads as they might on their own properties"[44]

Other publishers have reported better success with AMP monetization. The Washington Post has been able to generate approximately the same amount of revenue from AMP pages as from standard mobile pages, according to director of product Joey Marburger. CNN chief product officer Alex Wellen said AMP Pages “largely monetize at the same rate” as standard mobile pages.[45]

To improve advertising performance, the AMP Project launched the AMP Ads Initiative which includes support for more advertising formats and optimizations to improve ad load speed.[46][47]

Exploitation for malicious purposesEdit

Some observers believe AMP allows more effective phishing attempts. One serious flaw, noted by tech writer Kyle Chayka, is that disreputable parties who misuse AMP (as well as Facebook's similar Instant Articles) enable junk websites to share many of the same visual cues and features found on legitimate sites. “All publishers end up looking more similar than different. That makes separating the real from the fake even harder,” said Chayka.[48]

In September 2017, Russian hackers used an AMP vulnerability in phishing e-mails sent to investigative journalists critical of the Russian government, and hacked into their websites.[48] Google announced on 16 November 2017 that it will stop allowing sites using AMP for formatting to bait-and-switch sites.[13] Google said beginning February 2018, AMP pages must contain content nearly identical to that of the standard page they’re replicating.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dieter Bohn (2016-08-02). "Google's Instant Articles competitor is about to take over mobile search". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  2. ^ "Google opens the AMP fire hose". Search Engine Land. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  3. ^ "Google AMP: One Year Later | Adobe". Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe. 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  4. ^ "Turbocharging AMP – AMP". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  5. ^ "Twitter ramps up AMP". Search Engine Land. 2017-07-07. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  6. ^ "Supported Browsers". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  7. ^ "Overview – AMP". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  8. ^ Inc., Cloudflare,. "Cloudflare Announces Ampersand, the First Open AMP Cache, to Give Publishers More Control of their Mobile-Optimized Content". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  9. ^ "Supported Platforms, Vendors and Partners – AMP". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  10. ^ "Search results are officially AMP'd". Google. 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  11. ^ "CNBC – AMP". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  12. ^ "Gizmodo – AMP". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  13. ^ a b "Google will stop letting sites use AMP format to bait and switch readers". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  14. ^ "Bing App joins the AMP open-source effort". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  15. ^ amphtml (2017-03-07). "AMP grows its footprint". Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  16. ^ "Introducing Accelerated Mobile Page". Twitter. 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  17. ^ "Building a faster mobile web experience with AMP". Pinterest Engineering. 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  18. ^ "Browse eBay with Style and Speed". ebaytechblog. 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  19. ^ Kill Google AMP before it kills the web
  20. ^ A letter about Google AMP
  21. ^ Need to Catch Up on the AMP Debate?
  22. ^ AMP for email is a terrible idea
  23. ^ Web developers publish open letter taking Google to task for locking up with web with AMP
  24. ^ Why *Not* Google AMP?
  25. ^ The problem with AMP
  26. ^ The problem with AMP (comments)
  27. ^ Inside Google’s plan to make the whole web as fast as AMP
  28. ^ Conflicts of interest and the AMP Project
  29. ^ AMP: the missing controversy - How Google cheats with performance
  30. ^ Google claims it’s going to build its proprietary AMP using Web standards
  31. ^ Google Announces Plan to Improve URLs for AMP Pages, But Even If It Happens, Which Remains Uncertain, AMP Will Still Suck
  32. ^ Google AMP supremo whinges at being called out on team's bulls***
  33. ^ Official: Google Chrome 69 kills off the World Wide Web (in URLs)
  34. ^ Google AMP Is not a Good Thing
  35. ^ Google’s mobile web dominance raises competition eyebrows
  36. ^ "Facebook Instant Articles vs. Google AMP". ampexamples.com. 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  37. ^ "Introducing Instant Articles | Facebook Media". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  38. ^ "Apple Announces News App for iPhone & iPad". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  39. ^ a b Ingram, Mathew. "Google Says It Wants to Help Publishers Fight Facebook". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  40. ^ http://fortune.com/2016/08/16/google-publishers-amp/
  41. ^ "'It's not our project' says Google of AMP as the open format gains advantage over Facebook's Instant Articles". The Drum. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  42. ^ "Answering its critics, Google loosens reins on AMP project". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  43. ^ "Publishers are pleasantly surprised by Google AMP traffic - Digiday". Digiday. 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  44. ^ "Publishers are struggling with AMP page monetization | Search Engine Watch". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  45. ^ Marshall, Jack (2016-10-28). "Google AMP Gets Mixed Reviews From Publishers". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  46. ^ "AMP Ads – AMP". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  47. ^ "Growing the AMP Ads Initiative – AMP". www.ampproject.org. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  48. ^ a b "Russian hackers exploited a Google flaw — and Google won't fix it". Salon. 2017-09-24. Retrieved 2017-11-20.

External linksEdit