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The Problem with AMP (80x24.net)
641 points by segf4ult 277 days ago | hide | past | web | 344 comments | favorite



Google is abusing its powers. The search rank is our currency and Google has pushed AMP sites to the top for some while. So, everybody is now building weird AMP layers for their sites. We went from a free to a proprietary mobile web in just a few weeks. And we can't do anything. It feels like the times when the Internet Explorer tried to rule except that more people were complaining.

The open solution to a faster mobile web would have been so easy: Just penalize large and slow web pages without defining a dedicated mobile specification. That's it. This wasn't done in the past, slow pages outperformed fast ones on the SERPs because of some weird Google voodoo ranking, heck sometimes even desktop sites outperformed responsive ones on smartphones. If they had just tweaked these odd ranking rules in way that speed and size got more impact on the overall ranking there wouldn't have been any reason for AMP—the market would have regulated itself.

I'm wondering who at Google is responsible for AMP. Who created AMP's random specs (no external CSS but external fonts files, preference for four selected font providers, no JS but their JS, probable ranking preference of Google cached AMP sites, etc.). Why did they decide on the spec themselves and not as a part of an industry group? Again why didn't they just tweaked their ranking algorithm and btw, they could have also made Android's Chrome faster, it's still significantly slower than iOS' Safari. I'd be happy if this person could comment on the abuse of power (Sundar Pichai?).


> The open solution to a faster mobile web would have been so easy: Just penalize large and slow web pages without defining a dedicated mobile specification

It's obvious they have a different view on this. You can see this first-hand on their pagespeed tool. Pagespeed ranks your pages mostly according to random features, irregardless of size and performance. Actual test you can perform: 1kb web page with no compression ranks lower than 1mb web page after compression: "because you should enable server-side compression".

Their mobile assessment tool is similarly a joke.

The sad thing is that I'm likely getting a lower ranking on my website with has 5kb vanilla uncompressed js (gasp, not even async!) compared to the glittered rating of a 5mb homepage which loads 5mb+ more excluding webfonts from external CDNs.

You can taste that this has spread into google monoculture by the performance of their own web services.


>You can taste that this has spread into google monoculture by the performance of their own web services.

I gave up on Google Maps a long time ago. On my desktop or laptop, it loads in chunks. Like, the map loads, then the search bar loads, then the navigation (zoom tools, etc) loads. When I click and drag, many times I end up selecting the page instead of moving the map because it hasn't finished loading. I use Bing Maps on desktop and Apple Maps on mobile, only using Google Maps when I need to verify an address is the right place or find a company's hours, since their data is better than their competitors.

But man their performance is worse. Way worse.


They have a "google maps lite version" that loads a little faster, because it misses a bunch us useless crap, but looks 90% the same. It feels somewhat faster.


Link?


regardless


> I'm wondering who at Google is responsible for AMP. Who created AMP's random specs (no external CSS but external fonts files, preference for four selected font providers, no JS but their JS, probable ranking preference of Google cached AMP sites, etc.).

A bunch of people, but Malte Ubl is one of the main people and has the best tech talks on why they picked the techniques and hacks they did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfekj564rs0

I'd recommend watching that for how it works than asking @amphtml questions.

Node people: I did a node specific presentation at LNUG you might like:

https://mikemaccana.github.io/quick-wins-with-node-and-amp/#...

I use AMP on CertSimple but appreciate that AMP favors 'speed achieved using specific techniques' rather than speed per se. There's the RealPolitik element where we as site owners have to do what Google say.


>I use AMP on CertSimple but appreciate that AMP favors 'speed achieved using specific techniques' rather than speed per se.

Why on god's name anybody would appreciate that?


I believe the poster means appreciate as in 'I recognise that' or 'I understand that' rather than 'I approve of'.


Yes.


> "The open solution to a faster mobile web would have been so easy: just penalize large and slow web pages, without defining a dedicated mobile specification."

A million times yes. As to why this didn't happen, I feel it would have been too restricted to "merely solving the problem", and not active enough on pushing Google's agenda to tighten its control on the web.

All other things being equal, option A being "efficient & neutral" (just penalize slow pages) is, as a business, inferior to option B "more convoluted but with potentially profitable side-effects" (AMP).

Other takes?

EDIT I should have better read the linked article before posting this, what I'm writing here is close to what the article "Lock In" section says.


> Google is abusing its powers.

They are a business, doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

It's up to us to find a way to kill google and take back our internet.

Edit, i love the downvotes for this. Google is legally required to act in their shareholders best interests. You all should understand fiduciary duty. They are building long term value for a massive (and growing) customer segment at the expense of a relatively small base of idealist tech users. Its morally reprehensible but still the correct decision in today's business climate.


You're right, but that point isn't relevant.

What you're giving is an explanation, not an excuse. Nobody is incredulous at Google's motivations (money). We're just not satisfied with it.

Before you can solve a problem, you must identify it clearly. That's what we're doing here. Saying "yeah but it's only logical" isn't the point. Look:

> It's up to us to find a way to kill google and take back our internet.

You mean, like discussing why AMP is bad and why we shouldn't use it?


But we don't need an excuse. However the explanation seems necessary given that:

- we saw it happen once;

- we said it would happened again;

- we said how;

- we said why;

- and it happened again.

And apparently nobody gives a damn. People are still trying to get short term gains by adapting to Google's will and wrecking our industry, efficiently sawing the branch we are all seating on.

So yeah, we need to give the explanation. Again. And again. Until people hear it.

We are responsible of the situation.

Not Google. Before Google there was others like MS, and after they will be others. It's like a disease. You don't blame diseases, it's very useless, you explain, and you act.

Yes, your site will not make as much money. But for God sake, it's the same rational for green energy, criminal prevention and the like. You pay NOW because you understand that it's necessary on the long run.


> Before Google there was others like MS, and after they will be others

MS had their cases in court where they had to pay a lot of money for violating laws. Maybe it's time for Google to go through the same phase.


It didn't change MS. They just adapted. Now they have better PR, so people comes to HN, reddit and imgur to sing their song for them instead of doing quircky adds. Right now Gates is having so much praise it's like he is Mandela and Buddah's outspring.


You are making an assumption (an incorrect one, I think) that providing explanations causes people's behavior to change.


You are kinda right. But not making sure the explanations keep being spread does make it easier to forget or ignore it, and even fewer people would care. It's not a good strategy to gain traction, but not doing it make you loose it even more.


No, everyone on here shouldn't need explanation on why amp is bad.

Especially when its a closed system that Google insists serving to your customers from Google's private servers. No technologist or business person would/should ever stand for that. Yet we are forced to.

The discussion should really be, how do we dislodge Google from its current entrenched position.


Uh, use a different search engine? Am I missing something?


Yeah, a whole host of technical and legal methods that go beyond an incredibly hard collective-action problem.


>They are a business, doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

There was such a thing as ethical and societal responsibility for businesses.

Thinking making profit by any means as long as they are nominally legal is acceptable for a company is just something some people believe. No natural law that says it has to be so -- we could easily (and have had) believe the opposite.


>There was such a thing as ethical and societal responsibility for businesses.

Since when? Standard oil? Or going back further, the Dutch East India Company?


Since the time companies started being held accountable.

Which goes back all the way to ancient Babylon in some form or another. There are countless instances in history of shady businessmen being taken to trial or punished by an angry mob.

(And the "Dutch East India Company" was accountable to its society -- and even nationalized at some point. It just exploited OTHER societies and countries).


And "Google" was accountable to its shareholders -- and even made public at some point. It just exploited OTHER parts of society.

See?


Corporate social responsibility want a thing on the silk road, but we expect it now.


Criticizing Google too strongly e.g. kill google is a surefire way to get downvotes. Which is pretty much the same logic you described. HN is frequented by googlers, even if it is not exactly a duty to downvote comments like yours, it makes some sense. Or maybe I'm just seeing things.


> They are a business, doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

Violating anti-trust laws?


Anti trust prosecutions work only if harm to consumer is proven - harm to other companies doesn't really work for successfully anti trust prosecutions.

There's a reason no US attorneys bring anti trust lawsuits against Google and that's because Google would very likely be able to show their choices benefitted consumers (eg. say saved 10 mins and 50MB data a day across 200 million consumers without charge)


I'm an individual, not a company. I make web pages. Lots of other individuals also make web pages. It's not like only companies make websites and consumers only use websites.


I'm pretty sure the number of individual web devs is vastly lower than the number of consumers.


Maybe, I don't know. My point was that Google fucking with the web doesn't only affect companies. Even if there's vastly more company websites than personal websites, there's a vast number of personal websites too.


What would the process of being convicted of anti-trust laws for a website, when in order to use a competitor, you just have to type 'bing.com' or 'duckduckgo.com' into your address bar?


If using competitor is not viable. Similarly, one could have installed an alternative OS with an alternative browser in 2000, but the jury thought that it's not that simple.


I'm no google fanboy, but they haven't been convicted of violating any antitrust laws here in the US.

Edit: Again with downvotes. Have I made an inaccurate statement?


FYI: Although I suppose everyone every once in a while is surprised about the way their posts are moderated on HN and other websites (if they notice, that is) it is annoying when people complain about downvoting. I just automatically downvote that.

Sometimes what you state just isn't popular for the crowd who reads it and/or moderates it. Doesn't mean you are right or wrong. Just take a deep breath and give it a rest.

EDIT: The guidelines say: "Please resist commenting about being downvoted. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading." https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html hence, nope, I won't change that unless someone who works for HN directs me to.


> I just automatically downvote that.

We can both agree that one of us needs to change.

The guidelines are fine, the part you should change is automatically downvoting anything. Just jumping on a bandwagon makes for pretty boring reading too.


hint: it's you


You don't have to be convicted to be violating, because:

1) Not all violators will necessarily be convicted.

2) Even for those eventually convicted, there's always a period when they are violating, but not yet convicted.


Guilt before innocence, got it.


Being guilty before proven guilty is a thing in the real world.

As is being guilty and getting away with it. People do that all the time too.

And courthouses and judges don't have some monopoly into assessment of guilt. Just into its official identification and punishment.

(If the legal system had the monopoly, or some moral monopoly, of only it determining guilt, then how would we, as a society, judge the effectiveness or not of the legal system itself?)


> we, as a society

yes, we (the united states where google is head quartered) as a society, have agreed to at least pretend to allow the legal system to define guilt and innocence. But this isn't a philosophical debate. This is a discussion of what can be done to fix the AMP dilemma.


> required to act in their shareholders best interests

This is an extremely vague requirement. Potentially killing their brand name among developers and potentially initiating a slow long decline into irrelevancy certainly counts as not acting in their shareholders' best interests. When google first started, their "don't be evil" mantra was one of the main reasons they succeeded, so not doing unethical shit is in their shareholders' best interests.


> Potentially killing their brand name among developers and potentially initiating a slow long decline into irrelevancy certainly counts as not acting in their shareholders' best interests. When google first started, their "don't be evil" mantra was one of the main reasons they succeeded

He's right in that they're a company, but not that the solution to this problem is to "kill Google."

Much easier and truer to the problem is to "kill" this expectation people have that the magic of good-natured leadership will create companies that dutifully remain bound to arbitrary constraints as "don't be evil" or "not doing unethical shit". It's just blissful daydreaming.

Much better would be to collectively gravitate around community alternatives. You have most of the tools in front of you (open-source, remember?), but you decide that Google's 'already won' and think of yourself as reliant upon them (thus complaining when they don't do things your way).


No, making more money is, and shareholders tend to think in short term gains.


Are only short term gains in shareholders' best interests? Is there a legal definition? I'm asking genuinely.


No, they are not. This is a common misconception.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/04/16/what-are-cor...


> You all should understand fiduciary duty.

We do. You should understand it. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/04/16/what-are-cor...

The interpretation of "fiduciary duty" / "they are a business" that you're implying is an urban legend, easily debunked by the fact that Google has no fiduciary duty to open a gas station in rural North Dakota as soon as they realize from Google Maps data that one would be profitable.


>Its morally reprehensible but still the correct decision in today's business climate.

Using your logic if slavery were to become legal again, businesses should rush to use the free labor because "fiduciary duty".

This is why they teach business ethics.


Why do you think companies rush to use H1B visas and offshore to countries that use (what amounts to) slave labor?

Yes, companies do this today. Business ethics counts for nothing if it's not mandated. Compare Walmart's revenue to Whole Foods and you'll see why.


I don't quite understand how you're putting a moral judgement on outsourcing which is simply the purchase of a service. Certainly if a specific company is using slave or even child labor that is terrible and they should be boycotted. There have been several cases of business suffering real consequences. I am sure that they have not escaped your attention.

Anyway, its wrong to say business ethics account for nothing. Companies can and do self-regulate. e.g. http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/07-023.pdf


Where did I put a moral judgment on all outsourcing? I put a moral judgement on outsourcing to countries that use slave labor, obviously in the context of using slave labor (which is the subject of the thread I'm replying to).

That was entirely clear from my comment, and you deliberately chose to ignore that. I will not apologize or make corrections.


Well, I took your comment charitably and addressed the point about individual companies employing abhorrent practices (whether it be labor or otherwise). Obviously, we're not in favor of that.

But your claim seems to be that an entire technological sector spanning multiple countries employs slave labor? Its hard to take you seriously at this point.


Again, I never claimed anything that you're saying I claimed. You're taking my comment charitably? Hardly.

My claim is that many companies use (what amounts to) slave labor and that there are financial incentives and economic structures designed around this. It's hard to compete without it, since your competitors are going to be using it. As one example, take entry level programmers on an H1B visa making less than their American counterparts, living with three other H1B roommates in a two-bedroom apartment, sharing one car, working 80 hours a week, knowing that if they get fired they get deported. Or Chinese workers unable to quit but working such horrid conditions that they kill themselves to get out of having to work. Or children in Africa making clothes to sell at Walmart in Illinois.

But again, that's just exactly what I said originally. I literally cannot make my opinion any more clear, so if you're still confused the only thing I can conclude is that you're deliberately misunderstanding in order to provoke an argument, something that is far too common on HN. I don't care if you take me seriously. I care as much about your opinion as you seem to care about mine.


Okay, never mind. We'll just have to bury it here. No point arguing over nothing. Have a nice day. :^)


Fiduciary duty it isn't a magic spell that shareholders cast and then the company does everything all the time to squeeze profit out of everything. Lots of Google services are still free (as in price)


No, they are adware. Or "get monitored and profiled".


You should understand fiduciary duty vs corporate director responsibility.

Best interest != monetary gain.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/04/16/what-are-cor...


If "you" use Chrome, then Amp is your fault. You gave an advertising company control of the Web.


AMP and Chrome are two completely independent things.


Controlled by the same company to further the same goal.


More like "if you use Google". Sadly, nobody has built just as good alternative search engine. Or as nice webmail.

Generally, Google has huge resources to spend at making their search and their advertising platform outperform others, and they haven't degenerated enough to allow a swift moving company to disrupt their market.


The crazy thing is that AMP is open source and this is still happening. I've been tracking their GitHub and what is happening is that while yes, the source is open, they won't let you add anything they don't like.

Oh, and if you try to fork AMP you fail the official validators and suddenly your site isn't AMP anymore. What is happening in this case is that open source is doing nothing to stop AMP from being proprietary because it's worthless unless you have the "blessed" version.

Take for example the most obvious change, to make the original URL visible in the banner. There's tens maybe hundreds of GitHub issues on this and it's still languishing. In the rare case anyone official replies it's some bs about how it will affect the user experience or "interfere with Google's cache" in some roundabout and unspecified way. They leave a few of these issues open so that whenever you start another they can close it as a duplicate. Otherwise their repo would be overrun with them.

Open source doesn't matter if someone holds the keys to the kingdom and "validates" your sources. A dark pattern indeed.

AMP in its current form is certainly evil. The only way that could be changed is if Google opens up the ability to cache the page by a different provider with different validators.

I smell antitrust


> I've been tracking their GitHub and what is happening is that while yes, the source is open, they won't let you add anything they don't like.

Well, thats basically how Android works.

And with the upcoming policy changes (in CDD and GCM) things will get even worse.


There's a difference with Android, though: with Android, you can modify the source and use it on your own devices (which might be not be super easy, but it's doable).

With AMP, you can modify the source and ... ... run your own search engine???

Android is software in the traditional sense. AMP is a protocol, even though it's phrased as software. The principles of free software apply to software, and protect your freedom when applied to software. They don't work right when applied to protocols.


It's pretty much how open source works everywhere - you have to convince the maintainer to adopt your code. If they don't, you've got the options of either being sad or forking it and trying to get people to use your subjectively better version.

It's open source, not anarchist source.


In the case of AMP the only source that works with google is the official one. As soon as you fork it's not "AMP" compatible anymore.

You see the other half of AMP is completely proprietary and runs on Google's servers. It doesn't matter that you can edit AMP because the server (Google's end) will refuse to run your edited version.


Yes, which is what I implied: open source software is fine and good if it's used in a decentralized fashion.

But if it's just a provider open sourcing the implementation of their communication protocol/operating system running on their devices, it's good for the community that they can look into it and learn; but just as well, it doesn't imply that any of the changes you're able to make actually do anything.


But have anyone been able to convince the Android team of anything?

They are not even listening to the Linux team with their thousands of highly qualified developers and are essentially running their own fork of the kernel where everything has to be done The Google Way (TM).


Could you tell me about those changes?


I am under NDA so I cant give you specifics but the general theme of the changes are: less power to manufacturers, more to carriers.


> less power to manufacturers, more to carriers.

What about the owners of the phones? I pay money — good money, quite a bit of it — for my phone. I own it. It should do exactly what I want, not what Google, Apple, Samsung, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile want.


Well, this change will limit what Samsung is allowed to customize, maybe thats a good thing? But everyone else with get more powers.


Isn't this just another variety of Tivoization? The platform is nominally open source, but unable to run anything other than approved code.


Do you have a specific example of a rejected pull request or feature? It seems also possible that people outside google aren't contributing for other reasons, like lack of interest.


AMP is one of the most frustrating experiences I've had with Google. the fact that it's foisted on users, with no option to disable it, makes it borderline infuriating.

If you're stuck on an AMP page in your mobile browser, you can click on the browser's "Request desktop site" option to load the full page.


I am really curious if an ordinary user gets frustrated with AMP as much as an HN reader does.

PS: Not intending to be sarcastic. PS2: I work for google, but not on something amp related.


I've seen ordinary users get frustrated with it, but they don't understand why. They don't know what AMP is, and they don't realize they are on an AMP page. For example, the URL bar says they are on Google but they are reading a Slate article. The web is already confusing enough, and AMP makes it worse. Many ordinary users think they are reading content from Google, like that famous CNN interview where a lady said, "I read it in Facebook"

Which leads to the question, why is google doing this? They, you, could easily promote AMP pages while not masking the real URL! The answer is simple, profits over what's best for users.

Edit: I just did a search to find the CNN interview I mentioned, copied the URL to share here, and look it's a google URL. WHY? https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/trump-v...


I've seen people say about "fake news" articles that have google.com as the top domain (because AMP) as an indicator of some reliability. Google is unintentionally, but actively, harming their image by being associated with and promoting such content.


Fake news make little harm to Google, like an atomic bomb fired into the sun. Google supporting fake news, intentionally and actively, does marvelous things for that piece of misinformation and it gives credit to the publisher.

I hope this AMP experiment is soon over. As someone already said here, the web is confusing as it is. Google used to want to make things clearer, better. AMP is not. It's fixing symptoms instead of causes.


> For example, the URL bar says they are on Google but they are reading a Slate article. The web is already confusing enough, and AMP makes it worse.

Well, that explains why they wanted Chrome to hide URLs[1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7693995


The Chrome experiment in question ended before AMP was even a thought, and AMP and Chrome are separate teams inside Google. I doubt they're even mildly related.


> separate teams

Different teams inside a business can have coordinated long-term goals.

Regardless, their master plan[1] clearly shows "Redesign HTTP", "Browser", and "Next generation web (Fish Pod)" as precursors that lead to "Private Internet", "Walled Garden", "need more cache", and "NEWSBANK".

[1] http://undergoogle.com/tools/GoogleMasterPlan.html


Ah I didn't know this.

I run a WordPress blog. From the documentations of Google and WordPress AMP plugins, I have always thought that the user will be directed to "originalurl/amp" on my domain when they click on the Google link on their phone. Now that I see it's a Google domain, this is really weird.


It's not an AMP thing per se, it's how Google handles AMP in search results.


No, its explicitly an AMP thing. Google serves the user a cached version of your page directly from its servers, hence the google.com/amp/ url


No, it's not. See Nuzzel's implementation of AMP, it opens the AMP version on the host.


True, but you can serve the AMP page directly from the host.


> Which leads to the question, why is google doing this? They, you, could easily promote AMP pages while not masking the real URL!

Perhaps to allow the content to be served from a CDN (over HTTPS), without requiring the site to CNAME over their domain to Google.

If webmasters are willing to CNAME over their domain to a caching proxy, then a less intrusive design is possible[0], such as the one recently announced by Cloudflare[1].

[0]: https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/blob/master/spec/amp-c... [1]: https://blog.cloudflare.com/accelerated-mobile/


Most major sites use a CDN already. It's really to keep users within google.


The AMP CDN doesn't even really help with caching - when I implemented AMP at launch for some large sites, it was strongly implied that we couldn't expect any reduction in calls to our servers, and we didn't notice any reduction when AMP went live. From my perspective it appeared to be a walled garden counter-measure to FB Instant Articles and Apple News.


>Which leads to the question, why is google doing this?

Money. Amp vs adblockers


I'm one of those frustrated mobile users. I like to think I keep up on tech trends (being here for one example) but I hadn't heard of AMP before. I have experienced it, though, without knowing what the issue was until now. I like to share news with friends, and recently more frequently when I try to send the url it was google instead of the domain I expected. I had to go out of my way to send them the actual source, but it didn't happen everywhere. Now I know why.


Because that's where the site you are viewing is located...

Do you really want to go down the rabit hole of a browser displaying a different url than what you are viewing?


Not really, the page is located on slate.com, that's the canonical location, and google is adding a secondary location that is confusing and adds very little benefit. AMP provides a lot of benefits that do not depend on google hosting the page in addition to the canonical location.


i am curious about the numbers, though i do not know internally or externally if there are numbers showing this. As a power android user, i kind of like the rss-reader-esque look and feel of the amp links. It also opens blazing fast. With these in mind, minor inconveniences (like the address bar) are probably something i wouldn't mind.


> It also opens blazing fast. With these in mind, minor inconveniences (like the address bar) are probably something i wouldn't mind.

Of course you wouldn't mind, since, as you've said elsewhere that you work at Google.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair


Eh - that is because you don't know me. I have been a very vocal critic of many google products and product shutdowns.

edit: typo


If only Google had a nice RSS Reader view which was blazing fast, and allowed you to view an uncluttered, non JS version of an article, while still correctly attributing it to the original provider, while making it easy to link to the original source.

Such really simple syndication technology could even have a catch TLA. I can't really think of one, but I'm sure there is something.


we had that, it was google reader. rest in peace - i used it a lot back in the day.

That said, i think people disable JS in general for this reason.


Here's the deal, nearly all of the benefits of AMP are unrelated to the masking of the URL, they are in the HTML validation aspects of AMP. Masking the URL and keeping users on Google when they think they are on Slate is a rather naked land-grab with a lot of downside for users and very little benefit to users.

Why doesn't Google drop the URL masking while keeping all the real benefits of AMP? The answer, profits over people. I say this as a long time fan of Google, but this AMP stuff is where the "don't be evil" tagline turned into a joke for me.


I'm very strongly against AMP but what you said isn't strictly true.

AMP itself allows for fast loading which is true, but to support opening pages in "zero loading time" you still need pre-loading since fast loading still means non-zero loading time. To get pre-loading working in HTML you need to 1) load the iframe of the page in the background, then 2) when the link is clicked, use history.pushState() in order to manipulate the URL to appear you have moved to another page. Unfortunately for (2) the Web History APIs need* both URLs to be on the same domain so Google has an excuse that they need to change the target URL to be under Google for this to work.

Also Google wants to present the scrolling UI that allows you to browse to other articles in the search results (potentially from other domains). This can't be done if you have completely switched to the original website.

See this link for more discussion https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/issues/6210

Personally I find this misguided at best, an excuse at worst. A fully compliant minimalistic AMP website (or even just a simple site that doesn't use AMP but follow best practices) will load incredibly quickly even without pre-loading. It's disrupting a lot of security and UX best practices (by replacing the address bar with "google.com" domain) just to achieve a very minor improvement. Furthermore they control Chrome. It's not too hard for them to push forward a web preloading standard and start implementing in Chrome.

Edit: Also for the scrolling UI it seems like another way for Google to push more engagement to their site rather than the target URL. It kind of runs counter to the open web nature IMO because there are innovations that helps previewing links already (e.g. iPhone 6s/7 3D touch) and it's the kind of behavior better implemented in the browser itself.


I'm saying the same thing you are. Maybe I could have been more clear, but I was trying to avoid the nitty gritty tech details. Like you said, it's misguided at best and an excuse at worse. I'm asserting that it's an excuse, because it is done in a way to keep users on google for very little benefit to the user while causing very real problems for users.


Your opinion is here is valid, but how would you address the criticism that this isn't solving the real issue, and is obviously a power-grab?


The difference between Google and Apple:

Apple: These article webpages are annoying - let's add a client side button to make it readable.

Google: These article webpages are annoying[0] - let's force[1] everyone to grant us a royalty-free license to their whole website.

[0] The real problem might be that Google results are "getting bad" - a thing people bring up all the time but which can only be measured individually.

So people tap the first 3 results and don't get the info they were looking for. On top of that it's slow af so people are wasting time. Now Google serves up faster pages so they'll tap through 4 or 5 results.

So why not fix the real problem instead?

[1] Yeah it's optional but only to a point. First the spammiest blogs implement it and they get a free pass to partially skip the line. Then some bigger sites implement it and even things out. People here are rightfully afraid that within 12 months you can't even hit page 2 without AMP.


As I remarked elsewhere, I actually find AMP an excellent and speedy experience. I read articles on a mobile connection in India primarily and I now invariably click AMP news story options vs. others


Have you used other compensating mechanisms, like tap-to-show images?


Why should I take the extra effort to make publisher's poor websites usable when something like AMP does it out of the box? I don't really have any ideological objections to Googleplex which would warrant such extra effort.


not exactly the same thing, right? js environment also matters a lot.


I've never had an issue with it. Actually I try to click on AMP links when I'm searching for news because I know I'll get an experience that doesn't suck.


I browse AMP pages often and don't have any issues with it. It's great for getting news quickly in one page load. If I need to interact with it more, I'll simply go to the site hosting the AMP page


I love amp. Loads fast. It's so fast, it almost feels native.


One of the reasons Google (and FB with instant articles) came out with is the speed, and data consumption, which matters a lot more in some countries than in others.


Google and Facebook had far better ways to affect change (by using site speed/weight to factor heavily into rankings).


Prople in my family get quite confused when trying to share links.


This is my main problem with it. I don't mind too much that it loads an AMP page (well, I don't know, I go back and forth on it), it's the fact that if I want to share the page afterwards, I want the page to be shared to be the original site, not the AMP site, and finding a non-AMP version of the link is damn near impossible.


>near impossible

Check the link rel canonical tag. Obviously not ideal but nowhere near "impossible"


Yes. My boyfriend (who is not in tech) was so annoyed that he researched what it was that annoyed him and changed his default search engine to DuckDuckGo as a result.


Yes. My brother switched browsers on his Android phone (to Firefox) just to get away from AMP crap.


Why does it matter if a user is an HN reader or not?


it does, because we care about a number of things, including: 1. Technical implementation (and alternative ways of implementation). 2. Freedom (keeping things within google's walled-garden or not)

Your average user (who doesn't necessarily know anything about software) doesn't really care about 1, and probably doesn't care about 2. They care about speed of the page, data consumption of the page, and maybe the look-and-feel of the page (bloated vs sane).

When I say HN user, i mean technically informed and most often skeptic people.

The distinction matters.


99% of internet users are average users. All your concerns are fine but at the end of the day when you want to read the news or whatever, speed matters.


Then why doesn't Google rank speedy pages?



I'm not convinced that's still true. Obviously I can't see google-rankings internal stuff, but...

If I search for weather, lyrics, or other common sites, the top results are always slow, bloated, JS-filled nightmares. Yet the sites that are quick and small are never to be found.

Maybe they do and they need to weight speed higher. I don't know, but I know that I don't ever seem to get fast loading results.

This feels too much like creating a problem that you want to be able to step in and solve.


The use cases between both groups may be substantially different. Understanding this helps us not draw conclusions from 'how HN users use stuff' and incorrectly applying them to 'how all users use stuff'.


> If you're stuck on an AMP page in your mobile browser, you can click on the browser's "Request desktop site" option to load the full page.

So you have to load the AMP page and then a potentially bloated normal page. That's AMP doing the exact opposite of it's intended (or at least stated) purpose. Noscript, flashblock and adblock have done far more for page speeds than than AMP ever will.


Worst of all, many AMP pages won't load for me unless I disable Adblock. So now I have to degrade my browsing experience everywhere else to cater to AMP.


DING! The sound of google getting their ad money back.


AMP is the reason why I stopped using Google News on mobile. They butchered again one of their product. I'm glad that RSS feeds are still a thing.


Old versions still work like they should. I'm on v. 2.5.2 myself to avoid AMP.


I actually find AMP an excellent user experience reading articles on mobile internet connections in India. Thr pages load snappily and are very responsive. The ads are not distracting etc. Among news articles, if there's AMP option, I always prefer to click it vs. others.


I agree, and I live in the US. I couldn't care less about seeing the original URL and have never run into a broken page.


amphtml links on non-google domains, e.g., newspapers, etc., are great for text only browsers.

If I didn't know this was for mobile browsers I would think it was a gift to blind users who do not use GUIs.

amphtml links also provide an easy way around paywalls, most of the time.

I have no idea what is the true purpose of these amphtml links. It sounds like it's some advertising nonsense.

As a text-only browser user I see no ads and experience no page load delays, but I do see how overstuffed web pages have become.

In this regard, amphtml is a breath of fresh air.


I get the frustration, but mobile sites in general also have this problem. "Request desktop site" should be a more prominent feature, at least in safari which is what I'm familiar with. It's quite buried unfortunately and I think that more non-techies would benefit from knowing about it.


And websites should honor the "Request desktop version" at all time. It's frustrating when you enable the option and it still bring up the mobile version.


That is responsive layout! Something people love


A poorly made responsive layout*

If it was any good, it would be showing the desktop scaling/layout/whatever instead of the mobile when 'show desktop version' is on.

It's also not always about being on a responsive sites, a lot of places still do a m.website.com redirect when visiting the main site from a mobile device, but with no backwards redirect when visiting the mobile site (which is almost certainly non-responsive, otherwise there'd be essentially no need for the m.* site) as a desktop client - so you hit 'show desktop version', the m.* page refreshes and you just get the mobile site with funny scaling.


The website has no way of knowing you did that: this is actually Apple's fault for not changing the logical browser dimensions when you use this feature.


Well, no, it's not - it's just weirdly labeled.

Request mobile site is really only applicable to the small amount of websites that serve a m.domain.com.

Now, they could have an option to "request desktop SIZE" that would result in sites that are responsively built rendering in "desktop size" mode.


You can argue that any limitation is simply due to the feature being mislabeled, but in this case it seems pretty clear what people both expect this feature to do as currently named, and that happens to match what people also seem to want, and that would include changing the viewport to make certain you actually get the desktop site functionality.


Mobile web browsers should just never allow a site to disable zoom. That would fix the main thing I end up requesting desktop site for.


That's an option in android chrome.


It's right on the main menu in Chrome on Android. A checkbox item on the menu, so you know you can turn it on and off. So at least it isn't that hidden, same level as the other main features.


Firefox on Android does have this feature as well.


as does chrome on android


User here. I didn't realize I had an option to get the full site. As far as mobile web goes, I'm appreciative I don't have to slog through broken websites, CSS mishmash, flash ads, etc. Just the text, some basic structure, and fast loading times? I'm downright thankful to Google for this!

The bar has been set. Can you find a way to both resolve personal frustration and provide a better experience? Maybe a browser plugin?


I wrote a similar(although not as concise) article about 3 month ago: https://www.alexkras.com/google-may-be-stealing-your-mobile-...

After which I was invited to meet Google AMP team and to express my concerns, you can read my Q&A here: https://www.alexkras.com/i-had-lunch-with-google-amp-team/

TLDR; A lot of concerns are getting addressed

1. Minor, but the bar at the top is now scrollable on all devices, including (finally) iOS: https://www.alexkras.com/amp-toolbar-is-now-scrollable-on-sa..., it was not when I first wrote the article, so it's a good sign.

2. It is my understanding that the team is actively working on a way to "fix" the link issue, and give an easy way to get to original article, although it remains to be seen how they will approach it.

3. You can opt out from AMP cache on the web site end, but it really defeats the purpose. Read more here: https://www.alexkras.com/i-had-lunch-with-google-amp-team/

4. Most importantly, looks like there is even internal pressure to give people an option to Turn Off AMP on the search engine side, if they don't like it. See this, for example: https://twitter.com/slightlylate/status/820344221450125312 @cramforce is THE tech lead on AMP and @slightlylate is also a big shot at Google on Chrome Team.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about AMP, on one side I really like the speed, on the other I hate how it breaks the Web as we know it.


The navigation toolbar hiding is only part of the problem with the navigation on iOS: AMP also breaks the default iOS navigation bar hiding, so even with the AMP toolbar hiding screen real estate is still being burned. Your article also hadn't even mentioned scrolling: on iOS, at least, scrolling is "janky" and slow and unnatural; and that's before you realize the insanity of how they selfishly are breaking scroll left and right in their attempt to take control of the entire Internet as mere content for their website :/.


Great points!


He, it's a bit funny your last remark, unless it's tongue in cheek on purpose. It's akin to say "I have mixed feelings about crashing with my car. On one hand I got to my destination really fast, on the other hand I died."

The downside of AMP seems to me so comically larger than the upside that this should be much more a black-or-white issue than it currently is. Good that they are moving to fixing it, but very bad that this thing exists as it is right now in the first place.


It's sort of is.

I recognize that they are solving a real problem for users and I don't want to throw out a baby with the bath water.

At the same time I am VERY concerned with caching aspect of AMP. I am holding back on my judgment until they have some time to address some of the concerns, to see if I feel better about it.

But may be people on this thread are right, and a more aggressive stance is warranted...


I've switched off Chrome to firefox on my mobile because of 1, so it's not minor.

I hate those bars that reappear when I scroll up, I scroll up to reread a paragraph that I realized I just skimmed or I didn't quite comprehend and instead I get a big blank space with a link to somewhere I do not want to go. They fundamentally break expected scrolling behaviour.

AMP is cancer and should be roundly decried. It's disgusting you can't even turn it off in google search.

They're breaking the web and breaking everyone's web pages and content makers are meekly supporting them instead of kicking up a stink.


What I don't get is why a company like Google is moving with glacier style speed. When they will finally implement those long missing features their products already have failed the acceptance test of the users.


Because they don't have to move faster.


Yep - this has popped up a few times on HN. Google has zero incentive to improve certain aspects of their business or products (customer service, in particular!) because of their dominant position. For things to improve/change at all is a bit of a stretch, but for this to happen at pace is almost fantasy


It's funny to see Google as the "slow, bloated, evil corporation that doesn't care" while MS is actively trying to shrug off that stereotype.

15-years-ago-me is confused.


Could you not add an explicit link to the article after the title, say, on the AMP pages?

Edit: Ah, yes, your "make the header clickable" fixes this.


It's so strange to see Google repeating all the same mistakes AOL did so many years ago. No I don't want your fucking garden, I want the network. If you get in the way of that I'm done with you.


Everything seems to be moving towards gardens right now. Certainly not just Google. It's one of the things that depresses me most about tech right now.


The most depressing part of it is that the HN community don't seem to care and will actively cheer it in many cases (walled garden IRC and cloud in general). The only reason we have an open internet at all is because techies cared back in the day.


I feel like this is only partially true.

The majority of the articles, excluding those from large name corps, are simple loading pages. Using primarily the basic HTML and inline CSS. You do have the occasional blog page with some fancy touches, but the majority of the links that I click on while browsing HN has me questioning why, on sub par satellite internet, that HN and a majority of it's submitted posts work when Facebook, Google, Bing, etc.. does not.

I feel it can.

Everything just feels so bloated.


Internet is a co-operative anarchy: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1726#page-5


They where when AOL was big too.


Yes and the problem is Facebook. Google is fighting FB.

In many respects I like gardens, I like curated contents.

But I like the web more. The web needs diversity. We need more search engines for instance.


G+ wasn't enough for them to realize that imitation is not a good strategy to use against FB


This. It appears as if Google's higher ups still haven't gotten the memo.


In an alternative interpretation. G+ and AMP are both attempts by google to maintain relevance when faced with obsolescence due to becoming infrastructure rather than product.


"You can't simply be done with Google. Too big. Trust me. I know, just like China. "

On a serious note. Escaping Google on the internet is impossible. Can't be done without inconvenience.


I don't like AMP, and I very glad there is now some push back against Google's implementation of it. Fast pages are great, but I suppose I'm missing the background on why it was necessary to do this, when anybody who can implement AMP could presumably have implemented "lightweight non bloated pages" without using it.

It's bad enough that I've had to switch to using Bing on mobile, despite the worse results, and I'm actually genuinely fearful for the first time about the openness of the web.


Yeah, I'm tired of not being able to load Reddit from Google SERPs on my phone. Really tired of it.

Time to give DuckDuckGo another try I guess...


Reddit AMP links break on the iPhone when the Reddit app is installed. I do not know exactly why but my guess is that the open in Reddit app functionality is incompatible. I am not sure how to report this to Reddit.


Could you submit something to /r/bugs?


Have you checked your content blockers?


Disabling ad blocking makes it work, yes. That is part of the problem here...


To be fair, even when it does load it's a rubbish half-page. I click on Google search results to see pages, not to see abstracts of them. It's so totally broken as a user experience for Reddit in particular.


I've also switched to Bing on my phone. I figure that's the only thing that has a chance of making Google notice.


Thank you for your sacrifice


Push back?

Where?

It seems there is no alternative for those who care about their rank and clicks.


The tweet linked above by Alex Russell


One thing I love about AMP, that seems to never be mentioned when people discuss it, is viewing AMP-HTML pages on my laptop.

I wrote a small chrome extension that always forwards my page to the equivalent AMP page (if one exists) and the experience of reading the news is so much better.

AMP pages off mobile are really really amazing. Compare Non-AMP[0] vs AMP[1]

[0] http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Trump-on-the-minds-of-...

[1] http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/amp/Trump-on-the-minds-of-MLK-...


Yeah but here it's functioning effectively as a better ad-blocker (one that doesn't screw up site layout). Looking at how AMP works, I can see why : you'd have to decide before you know who the user is what ads to show.

Wouldn't that effectively mean that in a search query followed by an AMP site visit only Google has the opportunity to show targeted ads ?


I imagine it's supposed to be similar to how Apple's iAd platform works for iOS apps. It's a bad shake for third-party ad networks, but it's great for user privacy, since third-party origin requests are no longer being made to anyone but the platform owner (who then anonymizes the impression metrics they give back to the ad creators, who just have to trust the platform-owner's stats.)


That's not true. There is space in amp for a variety of iframe'd ad providers.


AMP supports many dozens of ad providers. 2 of them are owned by Google.


Why is that better? I guess it's nice that the video doesn't auto-play, but otherwise the only difference I see is margins that are way too wide.

edit: This is with an ad blocker on though.


SFGate is a bad example because they don't set margins. Most other sites are a lot better.

Here's a much better example.

AMP - https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/post-nation/wp/2...

No-AMP - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/01/1...


Sure, the AMP page looks much cleaner because it lacks the ads, side bars, and other junk that the Washington Post puts on their normal page. But they want that junk. If everyone on laptops and desktops starts using your trick, the Washington Post will adapt and find a way to put the same junk on the AMP page. Then we're back to square one.

As far as I can tell, your method of viewing a nice clean page depends on your trick not becoming popular!


Safari reader-mode can be activated on the normal page of the Washington Post when it is loaded half-way. Reader-mode discards the ads, side-bars and other junk anyway. IOW when activating Safari Reader-mode as soon as Safari allows, the AMP pages loose a lot of their benefits. Combined with ad-blocker and a proper image compression probably little benefits remains for the end-user.

Startpage.com delivers the same results google.com does. I've never hit AMP pages, so I assume they neither they redirect to AMP pages, similar to duckduckgo's !g.


The only problem with that (and with amp in general) is the few sites that implement it poorly, namely by simply installing a WordPress plugin and calling it a day with zero effort to test the implementation. Some sites are completely broken.

On the normal implementation, clicking links on mobile from Google search, this is mostly not a problem because you're unlikely to land on some random guy's WordPress from a serp. But if you're triggering a lookup of AMP wherever it's available, you end up on a lot of broken sites clicking links from reddit and HN and stack overflow sources.

I've found a better compromise is an extension that doesn't load amp by default, but just puts a button in your toolbar that you can request an amp version with.


Firefox has 'reading mode' that does similar, strips out all the stuff such as sidebars, etc, without most of the downside associated with AMP (being open, to start with). Occasionally it misses some media stuff (e.g. embedded videos), but works well vast majority of the time so I'm happy with it.


Makes me sad that they pushed AMP vs creating a standard format for how 'reading mode' content is selected.

This probably would speed up loading times as it would only have to display/load certain content.

I love 'reading mode' on firefox and safari (mobile). Unsure what other browsers support it but they all should.


Reading mode strips out the ads, so I can see why Google is not too excited about it :)


Yea - I was inspired by seeing how well AMP worked on some sites and actually converted my entire blog to use AMP for every page. It's incredibly fast and I'm happy with it although I'm sure I could have achieved most of the results with some highly optimized CSS and HTML: http://dangoldin.com/


It's about 100x harder to read the second link you posted because it fills the entire screen. Full-width text has been proven so many times to hamper readability...

Even with ads the original is an easier read on desktop....


This just seems to make up for Google never implementing a reading mode for Chrome. I wonder if they plan to use AMP to provide one only for AMP sites.


In fact Chrome has a reading mode but only on mobile and only if page is detected to have large desktop layout, and only sometimes - you get a "mobile view" button on the bottom. Byt there is no way to have it enabled on your own from some menu


The only difference that I can see is that they didn't provide a pop up video on the amp version. I'd never use a site that forces me to load and click away a video on mobile anyway, not sure this has anything to do with AMP.


Using https://encrypted.google.com/ to avoid AMP is a great tip. I'll be doing that, does anybody have more information on what that URL is for?

Is it possible to set it as default on iOS/Android somehow? AMP really frustratingly breaks link sharing, and I'd like to totally avoid it.


I'm not sure there is a more natural way, but if you install DuckDuckGo as default search engine, then searches which use their !bang syntax to redirect to a Google search are via encrypted.google.com. Example:

   !g search query 
Leads to https://encrypted.google.com/search?hl=en&q=search%20query

Of course, this also works if you type this query in at duckduckgo.com

Edit to add: I guess it is a matter of time before amp pages also appear on the encrypted subdomain; another incentive to switch to DDG now.


> does anybody have more information on what that URL is for?

Many years ago, Google Search existed only on http:// and schools used filters to block searches that they didn't like. Then Google shipped https:// for search on www.google.com, upset the schools because they could no longer block just some searches, then moved encrypted search to encrypted.google.com so that the entire domain could be blocked: https://cloud.googleblog.com/2010/06/an-update-on-encrypted-...


this seems so dumb... is the difference between schools blocking and governments blocking negligible to them?


That's why I've never seen any AMP pages! I've been wondering about this forever -- I thought Google must have figured out I wouldn't want them somehow. But any Google searches I do are usually through DuckDuckGo which use the encrypted link.


It's from the era before which Google defaulted to TLS. Nowadays, the only known difference relates to clicking of links. Here's the info from SE[0]:

>1. Clicking on an ad:

> - https://google.com : Google will take you to an HTTP redirection page where they'd append your search query to the referrer information.

> - https://encrypted.google.com : If the advertiser uses HTTP, Google will not let the advertiser know about your query. If the advertiser uses HTTPS, they will receive the referrer information normally (including your search query).

>2. Clicking on a normal search result:

> - https://google.com : If the website uses HTTP, Google will take you to an HTTP redirection page and will not append your search query to the referrer information. They'll only tell the website that you're coming from Google. If it uses HTTPS, it will receive referrer information normally.

> - https://encrypted.google.com : If the website you click in the results uses HTTP, it will have no idea where you're coming from or what your search query is. If it uses HTTPS, it will receive referrer information normally.

[0] http://security.stackexchange.com/questions/32367/what-is-th...


> Does anybody have more information on what that URL is for?

You used to have to use that domain to run searches over HTTPS. Google's enabled that for all users now, so it's kind of obsolete -- but apparently it still behaves a little bit differently?


This StackExchange answer[0] has a nice overview of what encrypted.google.com does.

[0]: http://security.stackexchange.com/a/32374


Startpage is a search engine who displays Google's search results without all the tracking and AMP, as an alternative to using DDG and using !g.


AMP is okay for news, but terrible for other forms of content. The reddit implementation is way less usable on mobile than going to their actual site.

It also results in lower quality news appearing at the top of searches in cases where they have implemented AMP and the better sources haven't.


Man trying to go back a page on Reddit then clicking a link on that page and seeing "there was an error, please reload the page" gets me out of there so damn fast.


Can you give an example of how to view reddit via AMP? If I just search for "reddit" on my Android phone for example, there are no AMP links to reddit, only Business Insider etc.


On my phone (chrome on android), basically any google search result from reddit goes to the amp version of the page.

(with all five visible comments, and since the full comments are almost certainly what I was searching for, I end up having to click through to the full page anyway every time)


For me, on iOS, I've _never_ had a Reddit AMP page actually finish loading / rendering. Broken since the start


There is an incompatibility between the Reddit app and Reddit amp links. If the Reddit app is not installed, they load just fine. Reddit likely could fix that if they were told about it. I have no idea how to tell them though.


I quite like it for recipes as well.


I really prefer Google and still use it when I'm on my desktop, but I find myself using Bing more and more when I'm on my phone just to avoid AMP. If Google made an easy way to jump from the AMP page to the original page then I wouldn't mind it so much.

The # 1 reason why AMP bothers me is when I want to share a link with someone, I don't want to send an AMP link.


This, exactly. AMP pages get in the way of sharing content – or at least in the way of being transparent about what you're sharing and where it's coming from.


I actually didn't enjoy bing much so completely switched browser.

AMP doesn't work on firefox.


I'm glad AMP's weaknesses are finally gaining attention and making their rounds. Google should not be allowed to steal publishers' traffic and strong-arm them into going along with it.


Controversial question: At what point would Google start to be considered an antitrust issue? I know the EU has made some noise about it, but I'm a bit surprised I haven't heard more about it here in the U.S.


In my opinion, they've already violated the trust of publishers. Take Google Lyrics for example:

http://phandroid.com/2014/12/31/google-lyrics-search/

In all fairness, lyric sites were terrible. Slow, riddled with ads, and sometimes incorrect. While Google's lyrics are a great service to the user, they're at the top of search and displayed inline. There's no reason to go to lyric sites anymore.

My biggest fear is Structured Data and AMP. With Structure Data, you volunteer your most valuable data in a format Google can easily consume and adapt to its own needs - all so you can get better page rankings. When Google introduces its own service in the same market - just like lyrics - you're effectively cut off from your audience. And with AMP, you don't have to wait for Google to siphon your traffic - you're volunteering.


They're also republishing peoples' artistic creations with no permission - same goes for "Band - Topic" on youtube. Many people that publish their music through epublishers have no idea that youtube will monetize the (audio-only) video uploads of their songs, and get hit with takedown notices if they try to upload it on their own. It happened to me, and we had to really hammer the intermediary epublisher to get youtube to reupload our own video (!).

Edit: on top of that, the video that got taken down was an iphone video of people dancing to a song playing over a stereo - kudos to how accurate their detection is, but goddamn!


Thanks, I appreciate your view! That's how it strikes me as well; that Google provides unparalleled sticks and carrots towards publishers that will end up undoing those same publishers, while they (publishers) volunteer to go along and aid in the process! (Maybe they have little choice in the race to get traffic?)

In other words, Google seems like a very powerful gatekeeper of content that ends up consuming the content providers. Smacks of an abuse of their position.


And if lyric sites hosted original content, I might have felt for them. I think Google is overreaching in many ways, but not in instances like this where the content itself is such a commodity.


And what happened to whole "don't build different markup for different devices" mantra that has been the accepted wisdom in web development for the past 4 or 5 years (whenever responsive design was discovered)? Feels like "m." sites all over again (but this time with google's CDN as a required intermediary).


As someone happy with their AMP site, I'm only happy with it on the basis that my Jekyll theme builds the whole site as a single site that happens to support AMP on the desktop page.

I couldn't imagine dealing with supporting two deployments.


I make my own amp pages by keeping JavaScript turned off on my phone. 95℅ of pages work and load instantly. Those that don't, I turn on JavaScript. If I go to those pages a lot I add them to my exception list. Sorry but I'm not an amp believer.


It just took me 8 clicks and a couple swipes to disable JS in my mobile browser, Chrome on Android. Another 8 clicks and couple swipes to enable JS. Is there a faster way to do that?


There's not a faster way, that I'm aware of. That being said, I'm not exaggerating when I say the overwhelming majority of pages just work and the 5-10% that don't you can add them to the exception list (meaning they will run JavaScript) so you won't have to go through those 8 clicks every time.

give a try for a day or so. Once I did, I can't go back to keeping it on because the web seems so slow by comparison.


I use Brave mostly because it has a side panel which makes that two taps to reload the page with JavaScript enabled and remembers those settings per hostname. It really trims down page load times and metered data transfer.


I know this isn't really and answer to what you are asking, but...

On FF mobile, with the "Toggle Javascript enabled" add-on it takes me 3 clicks to reload a page with JS disabled.


NoScript is also available for Android Firefox: https://noscript.net/nsa/


Please note: ℅ is not %


I've had many of these concerns about AMP myself and have seen other posts on this before. I tend to agree with their points. If you want to optimize your mobile view, than you can do that without a Google pseudo-standard. When someone clicks on a link to your site, they should go to your site.

This wouldn't be that big a deal if Google didn't emphasize the rank of AMP pages. There aren't a lot of alternatives out there to search, and Google dominates the market in much of the world.


There's little power for us when Google abuses the trust the community has afforded to them.

Let's assume this got much worse, and evidence came out that private political interests worked with Google to interfere with informed consent by reprioritizing what some called "fake news", when really what was being called fake news was actually anti-government activists pointing out collusion between tech companies and the government. Clearly, Google would be an agent to destroying democracy.

I imagine detecting that a visitor came from Google, and showing them an interstitial informing the user they have come from a state-sponsored search engine, and letting them know what that means and the alternatives to Google.

I think it's actually pretty trivial to build something like this with recipes for the popular CDNs and servers out there. Even a JS snippet would be totally fine.

Google is pursuing AMP not because it wants to promote a better experience on the web, but because Google wants to be the provider whose technology and own practices perform best on SRPs. They are acting like capitalist pigs, and we should coordinate a protest against Google to let them know they can't just walk all over us with no consequences.

January 20th seems like an ideal day.


Possibly off-topic, but the article isn't displaying[0] for me on Chromium 55.0.2883.87 (64-bit), running on Arch Linux, unless I go in the dev tools and manually remove "Fira Sans" from the font-family list in .container[1]. Not sure whether the problem is with me or the site, I'm surprised it doesn't fall-back to sans-serif before I override manually.

[0] http://i.imgur.com/qJKSvMC.png [1] http://i.imgur.com/zYDZrtr.png


That's weird. I'll look into a fix.

Edit: I couldn't reproduce this with Chromium on Ubuntu 16.10. I might set up an Arch Linux box to see if that makes a difference.


It happens on my Firefox 52 on Debian. I also have ublock origin installed.

Maybe you use some strange fonts?


Same here with Firefox.


On AMP page, clicking the X on the header box should load the HTML page. Instead it kicks you back to the search results. I think I would be okay if they fixed that one thing.


I pick 'none of the above'. The 'x' in the header box should make the damn header go away, keeping the rest of the page 100% intact.

Mind you, this just proves that the header is superfluous. Existing technology called 'the back button' exists to take the user back to where they came from, and it's up to Google to decide how their results page behaves when this happens.


You're right. Suppose I've become used to clicking on AMP links without realizing it so when I click X I really just want off of AMP. I really have no need to simply dismiss the bar, I can scroll down more easily.


It should be what cloudflare does: clicking on the site name in the header should take the user to the non amp version of the page.


That seems more reasonable


That's my main pet peeve with AMP as well. In my mind the [x] in the top bar is almost exclusively associated with 'remove the bar' behavior in Safari on iOS.


They viewed Google as platform and clicking x, takes user back to the platform. This was one of my biggest complains about the AMP project form the start. According to AMP team lead, however, the user testing on regular (not tech) users showed, that x did what people expected.

I really think AMP can benefit a lot from PR stand point by letting techies opt out from it, but leaving it on for "regular" users. See https://twitter.com/slightlylate/status/820344221450125312


Interesting info, but whether or not it's true, it certainly benefits their strategy. I have no doubt that they want to push the narrative that Google (Search) is the 'platform' and the news from publishers they wrap is a tab or viewport that you can [x] (exit) out of, returning to the default 'blank' Google page.

The problem with that is that the UX is inconsistent between AMP results and web results. AMP results pretend they're this fake tab that can be "closed" and you return to Google, while web results take you away to the URL like you'd expect, which means navigation is the responsibility of the browser, and not of Google Search.

Frankly, this all would make more sense in the viewport-wrapping context of Google Chrome or Google News or the Google App rather than a behavior of Google Search, but that's not the limit of their ambition.

Or just, y'know, dress up the results page a bit more, and be honest about it. Brand the AMP subsection 'Read Instantly with AMP' and have it clearly and visibly wrap the results. This gains them a bunch of mindshare.

Or change the [x] to a 'back arrow', like their own splash page shows [1].

[1] http://imgur.com/a/vAtqq


Wow: that screenshot makes so much more sense; I wonder why they dropped it... maybe because "back" was confusing with their "swipe left/right to get other articles" hijack?


Ah, good point.


Google: "let's completely reinvent our core product in terms of user experience... and mess it up"

Google is search, everything else is secondary. 20 people in a room testing this should have been all the red flags they needed to fix it before launch.


That would likely confuse normal users more: "What do you mean I have to close the page to open the page properly?".


Why would clicking the x on a header lead anyone to believe that the entire page ('tab') would be closed? That's not how... any other page element works.

The first time I encountered an AMP page I figured clicking the x would load the actual page. I was wrong.


Tech people think, x means get me out of this experience. Regular people think close this "pop up" displaying where I clicked to cause this "pop up" to appear.


Well either way that wouldn't result in closing the page.


Because x means close/cancel. Looking at chrome right now there are several x's on screen, they will close the tab or the whole browser.


Except this is a mobile only feature, and you never see an x on the page otself to close the page on mobile.


That would be wonderful, and it was what I _expected_ to happen the first time I tried it.

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