Google Launches AMP, Its Answer to ‘Instant Articles’

Yesterday Google launched AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – an open-source project that creates “light-weight webpages” that load more quickly, improving the mobile user experience, says Fast Company.

Mobile browsing

To create AMP HTML, Google partnered with dozens of publishers including Vox Media, BuzzFeed, and the Washington Post, but its most notable partner is Twitter. According to Re/code, Twitter’s use of AMP means that embedded tweets and Vine videos will be supported on AMP pages, so the links will load faster when accessed directly through Twitter.Google explains the concept in this Oct. 7 blog post:

Every time a webpage takes too long to load, they lose a reader – and the opportunity to earn revenue through advertising or subscriptions. That’s because advertisers on these websites have a hard time getting consumers to pay attention to their ads when the pages load so slowly that people abandon them entirely.”

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“Today, after discussions with publishers and technology companies around the world, we’re announcing a new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages, which aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web. We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously. We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant-no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using.”

(emphasis added)

Though some have speculated that AMP is Google’s answer to Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’ publishing platform launched in May, Google’s Richard Gringras said the project “is about making sure the world wide web is not the world wide wait – that’s where we’re focused.” To that end, Google has crafted the open-source code so that AMP-optimized pages load instantly.”Anything less than instant simply shows a degradation, a decline in engagement,” says Gringas.AMP is currently available for developers to use, but users won’t yet see a difference in page load times. That will come in time, as publishers adopt AMP to post different versions of their stories, a regular page and one that uses AMP HTML for faster loading.So what about ads, paywalls and subscriptions? Google said that AMP will support a “comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience. It’s also a core goal of the project to support subscriptions and paywalls.”Insider Take:There is always concern when a tech giant like Google takes the world by storm with an initiative like this. We always want to know what’s in it for them, and then, of course, what’s in it for us. That isn’t the case here. Instead, we see collaboration and unlimited possibilities.Whether Google and its partners built AMP to rival Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles,’ or not, AMP is an open-source project, so this technology can be shared with an unlimited number of publishers and partners – and, so far, there are no deals or revenue shares.Google benefits by making search results more attractive and easier to load, publishers benefit by keeping their readers engaged which can translate into ad revenue and subscriptions, and mobile users benefit by getting a better, faster version of content they want to read.We imagine there will be some bugs to work out, and Google will find a way to monetize their part of the arrangement somehow, but that seems fair given the time and technology investment they’ve made to make this happen. From what we’ve seen so far, we love Google’s ingenuity, but even more than that, we love the “open-sourceness” of it all! We can’t wait to see it in action.