The web has become bloated, where people use heavy JS frameworks like React to make their blog and then load 5MB of ad JS to load 10MB autoplaying videos. I dream of a day when static site generators like Hugo and Jekyll are the norm. Let's flex our muscles and make that happen and show the world that AMP is good but openness is better.
You don't need AMP to get rid of them though. We can appreciate that Google encouraged developers to get rid of bloat AND to opt-in for AMP, but that doesn't make AMP technically superior. I think we should give a critique of ourselves and ask why did we wait for a corporation G to push us to get rid of the bloat we created?
I'm not saying that it's impossible to do this, just that something opinionated like AMP helps everyone follow recommended practices with less friction. It's similar to having a compiler that gives an error for a recommended practice vs it being in your coding style guide that you have to manually enforce.
Of course, we could argue till the cows come home about what "good" judgement is :)
For website speed, anything that makes it easier to know what the right thing to do is without debate is going to help. Even within a team of experienced web developers it isn't obvious what the best approach is because there's so many options.
Depends what you mean by technically superior. In terms of benchmarks, AMP pages are lightning fast. Isn't that the only metric that matters?
What I found unfair about AMP is Google preloading your AMP-enabled webpage. So that even if your not-AMP-enabled page is equally efficient, an AMP-enabled page would feel faster because Google preloads it in the background. And then there is the fact that Google hosts your own content under their domain, and all other points raised in the article.
If we want to defeat AMP, we have to beat it at its own game. That requires us to come up with an alternative that's equal or faster than AMP. And clearly we've failed as developers to push for non-bloated solutions.
It might be possible to create our own version of AMP -- to take the best ideas from AMP and integrate it into some centralized system that isn't controlled by Google. It'd be tough, but the alternative is to let AMP steamroll us. A few rebellious developers aren't going to make much difference in terms of total AMP adoption.
Even if the AMP alternative was just a standard way of stripping bloat from websites, that might get us 50% of the way toward beating AMP.
The technical work has been done for years. The problem is that currently the only decision which matters is Google's and they're treating performance concerns as a way to use other people's content to bolster their own brand. The only two ways that seems possible to change are either convincing Google to reverse that policy or getting more people to use non-Google search engines, which seems unlikely given the huge quality lead they have over Bing, DDG, etc.
What is the precise element of AMP you are trying to beat?
Part of what makes AMP fast is the preloading, so any AMP competitor would need to tackle that problem. You'd also need to demonstrate that websites rank better if they use your solution. And they should, if Google plays fair. If not, then at least this would be a public demo of that fact.
What can we do about this situation?
I found that AMP helps a lot in that marketing/exec teams see Google pushing AMP and think they need AMP.
My company built AMP equivalents, and honestly I wish we could ditch our entire React site for AMP.
Instead of an exec demanding a feature, we can now say "AMP doesn't support it." No matter how many times we've set performance budgets, management absolutely tears the budgets down the second we need to implement some flashy new feature (which for some reason is the perceived solution to every sales slump). A group of us has tried to use data against this at least a handful of times, but memories seem to be short lived.
Of course we need organizational change, but after pushing a stone up the hill over and over again you essentially just say "fuck it" and let it crush you. Bottom-up corporate change is a fool's errand.
But apparently not faster than doing it yourself.
"I initially enabled AMP on my site for one reason only – ranking well in Google search results."
This reminds me about a friend of mine, his father used to run a restaurant and he enabled "donations" to the mob to get a "better ranking" (or not to suffer worse ranking as it were).
I run an adblocker and use reading mode frequently. I do not usually suffer any issues with ads even without AMP. It is solving a problem I do not have and creating more problems in the process.
What Google should be doing is encouraging the right designs, instead of pushing their own walled-garden design.
If Google ranked load-time/page-bloat much heavier in their algorithm, and started punishing bad pages, then sites would adjust.
I currently see very little action from Google in this direction.
1. i.e. the top n results will have rel=dns-prefetch tags hoisted into the search result, the top result (or visible/hover/etc.) will have the first rel=preload html/style/script tags hoisted.
Firefox on mobile supports extensions, so you can use UBlock Origin / UMatrix. Also the built-in reader mode makes most sites a much better experience.
Unfortunately this isn't true on iOS as far as I can tell.
True, but it doesn't improve page load times.
Actually I see these on an AMP page too.
I have no idea what a sustainable solution would look like. Something similar to the Brave browser that was actually agreed upon by site owners and users alike, where site owners would turn off all of the BS for people that paid cash?
Of course, that doesn't touch the problem of people using crazy over-the-top, poorly optimized front-end stacks for things that could easily be accomplished with a regular web server and a smattering of Ajax.
I'm trying to figure out how to make JS blocking available to normal end users. Why should users have to put up with the current shitty situation when a simple, technical solution is available that doesn't involve Google or anyone else whose intentions are not aligned with users' intentions? The main challenge is fixing the UI so that it can be used by the least computer literate users.
Instead of AMP a better solution could be to add buttons to browser to disable JS/CSS/Web Fonts (the most useless innovation)/Cookies and let the user decide what they want to see.
My companies entire site JS, React and many other modules included, is 220kb over the wire (gzipped).
Site bloat is a thing but it's due to bad developer practice not frameworks or libraries
The single worst offender though for bloat are 3rd party ad networks - Google included/especially. The site often has minimal control over what is put in ad slots.
Start pushing against google to improve their standards for ad payloads and you'll see a massive improvement.
Railing against ads themselves however is, sadly, not too helpful
The only realistic way that I see forward are the ad networks (and this includes Google) setting lower maximum payload sizes for ads. Obviously sites can push back on quality and size but it's a hard metric to track consistently given how ad networks serve things.
The fact is: ad-based model just puts the burden on those most susceptible to advertising. It's similar enough to funding schools through state lotteries in that the money comes from somewhere or the results go underfunded, and if you accept state-run lotteries or anything that looks even slightly like today's ad-based internet, you are talking about a funding source that is deeply and fundamentally unethical.
See also: mobile. You have to totally gameify things to get micropayments to work.
I mean, if you want that for websites, sure... but if you think clickbait is bad now...
On the other hand, micropayment would freeze out poor people.
That's not something that is going to be fixed by changing library.
Try clicking any of the god-awful clickbait AMP pages shared on Facebook, for example.
<link rel="amphtml" href="https://www.example.com/url/to/amp/document.html">
Thus all google is doing is rewarding sites that have implemented this and as a result load fast, no? imo, its drastically different to Instant Articles because you can never ever find the Instant Articles version of a web page. its private and only fb knows it.
Also, the notion of hyperlinks are crucial to the Web and these projects break it. Hyperlinks originate from an article from 1945, "As We May Think", and the term itself is coined by Ted Nelson in 1965 for Project Xanadu. That's how you create a web that is now called the Web. That's also what Google's PageRank algorithm depends on, at least at the beginning. Now, letting Google host your content, under a link such as `https://www.google.com/amp/www.example.com/amp/doc.html`, you are breaking hyperlinks: it is no more linking different websites together.
If they don't do this already, they probably will if they keep going down the AMP rabbit-hole.
I think that’s a good idea, but I fear some users won’t realize there’s more or may not understand the abrupt change in layout/design/etc.
AMP does (a) and (b); I don't know about (c); and doesn't do (d).
Still, I can see why people see echos of walled gardens in AMP.
There's a slightly-higher wall for advertisers, I believe. But Google is rightfully afraid of antitrust issues and seems eager to get advertisers besides themselves signed up. But it is a wall in that it requires whitelisting, as far as I remember.
There's a lot to criticise about AMP, but I don't think the
"walled garden" metaphor fits.
Or would it have to be something on the open web? And if only AMP pages get ranked well on Google in the future, how much harder would it be for such competitors to ever get noticed in the first place?
Currently, the only thing on Google results explicitly limited to AMP is the mobile news carousel. Presumably AMP pages also do well on the "loads fast" evaluation that affects normal rankings, but in theory it should be possible to do equally well without AMP. If this is changed, or turns out to not hold up in practice, then there is cause for concern, but I have not seen evidence of either.
News sites, of course, don't generally compete with Google's core services - unless you count Blogger, but in that case all news sites do). The one thing I can think of is that they might embed videos hosted on competitors to YouTube. When it comes to that, AMP is a mixed bag. Unlike on the open web, video players that use custom controls/iframes (like YouTube) need to be explicitly approved, since there's not much alternative without granting a blanket license to put arbitrary sites in iframes, which would (mostly) defeat the purpose. So Google acts as a gatekeeper. On the other hand, the spec  already lists like a dozen random video hosts you've never heard of; that's not evidence that Google wouldn't try to block a more serious competitor to YouTube, should one ever spring up, but there's certainly no evidence that they would.
And we all remember the kinds of crap Google did to try to foist Plus on users who had no interest in it. At one point 1/4 of the annual bonus of everyone at the company was tied to it.
Can I get the same display in the Google Search with or without AMP? No.
That’s the wall.
With AMP, I get a different search ranking if I use Google’s AMP version, or if I self-host the AMP scripts (to prevent users being tracked by Google).
I have to allow every user of my site to be tracked by Google if I want to get the AMP ranking advantage.
I can’t fork AMP.
The ranking advantage is given only if you use Google’s AMP cache.
How can you seriously compare this with HTTPS?
AMP makes it harder for real walled gardens to provide an attractive performance advantage to end-users, making it not only not a walled garden, but also a potent weapons against walled gardens.
How do I get my page into the carousel when using a fork of AMP that reduces the JS load?
So "any crawler" who is willing to slavishly follow whatever Google is currently doing, and currently doing in the open (who knows how long that will last), can technically get access to the same content so it's not a "walled garden".
To me it sounds like Google doing yet another non-standard thing without asking the rest of the web-community for input, and using their weight as a way to push this through in their usual, hostile manner.
And here on HN people are defending it as perfectly reasonable. The mob clearly has something to learn from these guys.
Not filling a page of what is effectively 80KB static text-content with 20MBs of JS, fonts, tracking-code and other "assets" would be a good start.
The web isn't slow. People deliberately create slow web-pages because they care more about user-tracking and "fancy" technology than they care about user-experience.
And making Google a pre-requisite for any web-page is NOT the solution to that problem. That's the wrong way around. We need less tracking. Less JS. Less Google.
In fact, I'd say the much-derided Flash aesthetic/inefficiency kind of won, right around the time we were all celebrating killing Flash. Everything's whiz-bang shiny and so damn slow and resource-hogging. Plus flat design is a disaster in all but the most capable hands, so I'd say UX generally has suffered over the last decade.
The other big factor is the ongoing decline of advertising as a viable business model. The worst offenders I see are either ads or the measurement tools publishers use to document their site's performance, and that's been getting continually worse as everyone keeps chasing diminishing returns.
More JS will make a slower site, especially on mobile.
I imagine if you expand and codify this idea, you will come up with something very close to AMP. I'm not sure if you're against the idea of AMP/AMP-like standard, or against Google's execution of it.
Personally, as a consumer, I absolutely hate the fact that I can't quickly check my browser's domain bar to see what website I'm reading (to assess its credibility for example).
No. And Google could not care less if pages load fast -- it could incenticize making pages faster with traditional methods instead. It's all about capturing more eyeballs and proxying more traffic.
I agree that it's somehow yucky, but I don't see how it can be ascribed to malice intent, instead of an effort to improve the user experience that maybe goes too far.
In some areas people understand care about such things, in those areas we did and still do see some optimisation effort. Far from everywhere of course, even within that subset, but I'd wager there was improvement overall (or at least things got worse less than they otherwise would).
In other areas though the available audience either doesn't understand or doesn't care (because their connection and CPU are fast enough to cope for instance, and they aren't on an expensive metered link) or both. I say "available audience" because for these sites the "target audience" is every-human-alive-several-times-over-good-god-we-need-more-ad-impressions-and-clicks - the likes of buzzfeed and the other click-bait filled "news" and "entertainment" sites where four sentences of content can be stretched over sixteen pages of large, slow loading, auto-playing, obnoxious adverts. The people who care about load time (and/or relevant technical or privacy matters) simply don't follow those links. The people who do follow the links aren't worth making page load optimisations for because they simply won't care or notice, so from the site's PoV the time is better spent on adverts-hung-onto-into-each-morsel-of-content optimisations instead. And that was when Google ranking was the main thing that mattered, more recently the operators of such sites are more interested in distribution via social media so Google ranking you lower for a slow load is less of a concern, or if it is a concern there are tricks (not all of which Google can easily filter for - it is an on-going war of attrition) to show Google different versions of the content that does load quickly.
It's not up to them to decide after that.
No they don't. The news carousel prioritizes AMP, but it has no known measure on search engine results.
AMP chatter on here has become incredibly one-sided to the point of absurdity, where karma is easily gained by denigrating AMP, talking about "leaving" it, etc. It is beyond reasoned discussion.
If you aren't a news publisher that's all very well and good for you, but that doesn't mean AMP has a huge effect on how people receive their news, and that it isn't worth talking about that.
Except that I don't write blogposts to please the Google search engine. A site can be found via many other ways. News sites like Reddit are a great way to be discovered, aswell as HN. There's also link dumps like Pinboard which are another way to discover, aswell as others. Twitter, etc
Yes, the cache is problematic, as it may allow Google, in a possible future, to filter some content, censor some other or not refresh often some pages. The thing is, if it does that, people will start using Google's caching, that's as simple as that.
In the past, Google said "we will prioritize search results by load speed." That's completely fair and a move I can applaud – it points out a serious problem with the web and leaves it up to publishers to come up with innovative and creative solutions of their own to reduce load time.
Now, Google has changed the deal. It doesn't matter how much you've innovated to provide a good experience to your visitors – it doesn't matter if you created a version that loads ten times as fast as AMP and provides a better user experience, you will still be penalized by Google if you don't use AMP. You will not be allowed in the carousel, regardless of how well your site performs. You will not be prioritized above AMP results, you won't see the "lightning bolt," even if your site is legitimately as fast as AMP. It kills any motivation for any company or person to develop a better system for loading pages quickly, because sites using it will never be able to overcome the unfair advantage given to AMP sites.
I don't think they specifically reward AMP.
"I don't think"
Try looking for evidence instead. Do a Google search on mobile. Try to find a single carousel result that isn't an AMP page.
Boosting one thing while leaving the other alone, in this case, is effectively the same as punishing the other.
Google serving your pages?
Hijacking your domain for the server pages and obscuring links to the original content?
Use of a proprietary technology (whether open sourced or not, it's not a standard)?
Abuse of power with veiled threats of punishing content publishers who are not using recommending AMP to make their pages "fast and responsive"?
The only way to be any more against the free and open web is if they made Google search a web proxy where you never get access to the underlying page...
Give it some time. They are pulling more and more content into the search results pages which has roughly that effect, since people no longer click through.
- definition of a word
- lyrics of a song
- summary of a movie
- phone number and/or address of a business
- distance between places
- unit or currency conversions
So while I don't want to see Google monopolizing the Internet, I also don't like the model in which information is served by individual web pages (which can, and do, disappear all the time and get replaced by something different). So I wonder - how can we promote and develop the open web, while also making it better and more productive for people?
Maybe if people served data streams instead of web pages, things would be easier? Related, I'm all for every kind of way of taking control over the way a page looks away from their authors. The Web is increasingly becoming a place for designers to show off, and this wastes both users' time and resources. Ad blockers, noscript and reader modes are huge wins in this space, but I think we need more. Maybe some self-hosted auto scrappers that would help me answer my information queries without actually visiting full pages?
Do you also want the original content creators to starve and die off and the only competent content source left to be either Google's archive or Google's lacklustre service for the same thing?
Also, I didn't mean I want a Google-dominated reality. Only said that this particular feature - content in search results - is a step in the right direction; it showcases a better way to use the Web. The reality I want is made of free and open-source tools doing that, not Google.
I'm not sure what is stopping you from doing that now. You can blacklist domains that serve ads and stop visiting them. Or even better yet, hire someone to write a browser plugin that blocks websites with ads, should be fairly trivial to do. And release the source code so others can benefit.
So, like Netflix?
Netflix is a subscription service; I pay them, they stream me movies, the contract is straightforward.
I'm increasingly more convinced that the best way to save open, distributed web would be to kill off Internet commerce. Think of it this way: when I'm searching for information, I'm like a fish searching for food. There are places where it naturally occurs, but more and more food is placed by businesses, who attach them to hooks in order to bait me into spending time and money on stuff I don't want. Great for the fishermen, but in this story I'm a fish.
(Sure it's a pipe dream, but it serves to highlight the conflict of interest. As an Internet user, I seek information - not deals, contracts, and all the other strings people try and attach to that information.)
No, there is such a thing as copyright. That Google ignores it doesn't make it any more right than when Hollywood balks at piracy because piracy tends to make bits available in 'the right format'. That knife cuts both ways.
> I'm increasingly more convinced that the best way to save open, distributed web would be to kill off Internet commerce.
Well, that won't happen.
> Think of it this way: when I'm searching for information, I'm like a fish searching for food. There are places where it naturally occurs, but more and more food is placed by businesses, who attach them to hooks in order to bait me into spending time and money on stuff I don't want. Great for the fishermen, but in this story I'm a fish.
Google is one of the fishermen, in fact, they are running the largest trawler on the planet.
Copyright is rightfully seen a problem on the Internet :). Personally I'm currently fine with both pirates offering bits in the "right format" and with Google offering information in a better format - especially that they don't have any monopoly for that, just enough man-hours and burnable cash to do it first.
(INB4: I do respect copyright (at least more often than not), but I still believe it's ill-suited for the digital age.)
> Well, that won't happen.
One can dream, though...
> Google is one of the fishermen, in fact, they are running the largest trawler on the planet.
I know. I don't want any form of Google monopoly. I don't like AMP either. My only point is that Google displaying content in search results is an example of a better interface to the Web than the regular site visit; it saves me time, clicks, and prevents me from being exposed to all kinds of crap I don't want to see. I'm definitely not arguing we need Google for that - just that I wish we'd all go much further into that direction, preferably with free and open-source tools.
Look at it this way: people doing internet commerce are also searching for food -- to put it on their table.
(Related, I wonder how many people in adtech actually use ad blockers.)
And in general: people need to earn their living, yes, but that does imply society should support any particular business model.
Yeah, what's bad about that? It is, actually, a feature of a free open web: content is there, available to anyone, including Google, to be rehashed, kept, reserved, in anyway any one see fit.
Wikicache is a feature of an open web, that does a very similar thing to what Google is doing.
> Use of a proprietary technology (whether open sourced or not, it's not a standard)?
We have really come a long way if this is what we now call a proprietary technology. My understanding (but I could be wrong) is that the specification is open, everyone is free to implement it, fork it, make editors or readers about it.
Proprietary implies (or used to imply?) that some of these rights are limited: the MPEG consortium forbidding encoders without acquiring a proper license, Oracle claiming that you can't make a Java VM without making an agreement with them, etc...
My understanding is that AMP is as open as it could be: it was just proposed by a private entity. Criticism is a good thing, but saying it will break the open web is simply a warning I can not understand.
If something needs to be criticized, it is Google's quasi-monopoly on search, but even that is not that much of a threat given how many of its competitors are still easily accessible from any device and out there to gain a foothold as soon as Google's search results show any kind of weakness.
The [x] on the AMP banner is a back button that takes you back to Google. Most users would expect it to dismiss the banner and stay on the page.
If your AMP page was reached by a Google search carousel widget, they hijack left/right swipe on YOUR page to go to competitors pages.
And, after swiping, using the real back button skips any AMP pages in history and goes directly back to Google.
I suspect Google will do the same as they've done in search (ads vs organics)...keep taking ground in little bites over time, until it is a walled garden.
Ideologically, I'm opposed for all the reasons listed in TFA. People work to create something, yet the content and website are being ferried around by Google. AMP rendering basically strips content down to a barebones text page of the content in question with some images. Not inherently bad. However the site loses a lot of navigability, and swiping to either side moves people off of the current site and to the next search result. It's basically loading the site I selected as a search result instead of actually giving me the site I want to navigate to.
It's the same as Google scraping content to respond to search queries. It's nice to be able to search for "28th US president" and get the answer, an image, quotes, some basic biographical information, and people related to Wilson. I get all that without ever have to leave the results page, yet all of the content creators who worked hard to catalog that information get no benefit. As a user: Thanks! Ideologically: Ouch.
On the other hand you say AMP aims to fix this - anyone doing that for the ad views etc would simply not enable AMP on their site. AMP does not fix this.
I just want a Web where people write a lean website that delivers your content with low overhead. Then do your best to use ad networks that aren't trying to set your users' computer on fire.
I assume you mean "stop", but you can't. There is no way, as far as I can find, that you can opt out of google rehosting your content.
What is ironical in that issue is that Google copying/caching your content is part of the free web. We would bitch about websites that prevent copying their contents somehow.
What people can opt out of is sharing links to AMP and AMP redirects, which will happen 2.7 seconds after Google starts censoring content.
Why? Because the article doesn't display alright on my mobile (screenshot here: http://mickael.kerjean.free.fr/public/IMG_1720.PNG)
From a user experience, it's not great.
The way I see it, AMP is just another alternative to Bootstrap. Sure, it's not perfect but when I need to quickly add a few things to create something simple, it does the job. Like any piece of techs, there's some downside, but at least you benefit from:
- less ui bugs in your website as it was likely test accross more devices that you could ever do on your own
- would load faster than you bootstrap equivalent
Nearly every Google product spies on you to some extent, most of the time, to the furthest extent they legally and technically can. Google is DIRECTLY INCENTIVIZED to get as much info out of you as it possibly can, so that info can be distributed to advertisers and used to create a profile of you for the purposes of targeting ads. NONE OF THIS IS A SECRET, this is a business model that Google itself largely pioneered, perfected, and literally wrote the book on yet so many on HN especially are willing to give them a pass on it while deriding other, smaller companies for largely the same things on a smaller scale.
As for me, I've de-Googled to a very great extent and I feel better than ever. I miss a lot of the toys from Chrome especially but I just couldn't use it anymore, constantly feeling the stares of those digital eyes.
Maybe I'm just too cynical, but again and again, "free" services that were based on user data are either acquired by Google and rebranded, or they go out of business because they couldn't draw a profit. So either A: Google is hemorrhaging cash to provide all these things (which I doubt) or B: They are making money because they've figured out how, likely via volume and that social capital, to MAKE these things that seemingly few if any businesses can't make profitable, profitable.
No, they're trying to protect their bottom line. If they wanted to they could easily compute a page weight : content ratio and penalize severely on that alone.
Same thing. Maybe your words are better said.
> If they wanted to they could easily compute a page weight : content ratio and penalize severely on that alone.
The web is not free and open when platform A (Twitter) decides to overwrite links to other versions of a website by means of using a solution from platform B (Google).
Full stop. You choose to participate in AMP. You can't choose to not be throttled by an ISP, or to bypass censorship.
1. Users have no control: if you want real URLs or the full experience, you have to work around AMP or stop using Google.
2. It's technically true that publishers can choose whether to use AMP but Google rank is a make-or-break issue for many publishers and that means the decisions is made under the threat of losing out to competitors who use AMP even if your site is already just as fast using non-proprietary tooling.
It would be much better for the open web and innovation in general if Google maintained a separation between the two and only used the real user experience when deciding ranking or placement in the special top results carousel.
2. Yes. As a user who really enjoys amp and really hates that every single text-based news source takes over a minute to load on a 100Mb/s+ connection, I feel not bad at all. Not even the tiniest bit. Publishers entirely brought this upon themselves. Internet speeds are faster than they've ever been, and websites are the slowest they have ever been. This is fundamentally unacceptable.
It would be better for users, and by extension, the web, if publishers stopped building horrendously bloated websites. Since they absolutely positively refuse to, AMP seems the appropriate answer - if there's demand to take away their toys, someone is going to feed into it eventually.
I sometimes discuss principled reasons for disliking AMP in HN threads, but I'm coming to the realization that it's really just the experience i dislike, and those principles would probably be overridden by UX convenience, if it actually existed. I just think the AMP team has done a really bad job of implementation now.
There are all kinds of complaints on this very page about how AMP negatively alters the user experience (stupid urls, broken scrolling, bar covering 1/3 of the content, broken UI, inability to turn it off, etc).
Those don't sound to me like "exclusive" publisher complaints.
AMP puts even more power in the hands of Google. Just say no.
Google and Facebook both say: "Give us your content. But without the crap. Just the content. Since we don't allow crap, users prefer the experience over here. So your content will have more readers then on your own domain.".
And for some reason publishers are crazy enough to do that. Instead of removing the crap on their own domains in the first place.
Publishers may be too broad of a definition. Marketing and sales may require that the pages be bogged down with crap content, whereas the tech team are using AMP as a way of removing it to meet the other business requirement of "go faster." Lots of big companies have problems where the left and right hands are working against each other.
But the version on Googles domain is the version they display in the search results. So it's the version that is seen by users. So it's the version that matters.
Just in case you've misheard the phrase, it's actually "walled garden" not "wallet garden".
As a user, this is what I want. I don't care about the BBC's site, I care about what I searched for. If I want to see their front page, I'll go to bbc.com.
I think this article (and most AMP-bashing articles) are mostly fluff about how Google is "taking over" and "forcing" people down a certain path. When in reality everybody knows this is helping users.
As I've said many times: propose a better solution for users to be able to load article content very quickly.
The real, valid issues I'm seeing mentioned in this article are:
* Links are to google.com, which really screws up sharing.
* Apparently images and scrolling can be wonky, though I have never noticed this myself (and sounds like it could be easily solved if it's true).
So again, if you can solve this problem for users in a free, publisher-opt-in, global way without the links pointing to a third party, please share your solution.
By the way, if you use CloudFlare, you can enable AMP without breaking normal links. It is only the Google search engine that breaks links for AMP, not AMP itself.
I do hope that Google adds an option in your account settings to opt-out of AMP results. That way the detractors can turn it off, and everyone else can be happy that pages load in < 1 second instead of 4-5 seconds.
> As a user, this is what I want.
That's what the back button is for though.
For me, I consider AMP pages a kind of in-between page. I searched on Google, and Google is showing me the AMP page, and not the real website's page. This is apparent by the URL in the address bar.
I expect that clicking the close button will close the AMP page and take me to the real page. It fits the model better, and it solves the problem of not being able to see the actual URL (to share, bookmark, etc). Instead it does something unexpected, it acts like a back button, something I already know how to use.
That broken interaction makes Google's AMP experience super frustrating to me as a user. The side effect is that I don't use Google's search on my phone anymore. I think it's a big reason people complain about it, and want the opt-out option.
People have learned that clicking that little X gets rid of the obstruction so they can view the page as it was intended.
You probably dismiss hundreds of these EU cookie notices per week.
They click the X or OK on the message, the message disappears, the site stays.
If you can find a website where the cookie warning’s X button redirects to your last Google search, please do so.
Regular users have been expecting search results to behave a certain way for over two decades. Opening the results in a modal is simply not the expected behaviour. Changing the back button is not the expected behaviour.
Last time this came up someone linked to a Google employee submitting a bug report to Apple about the scrolling. Their response was "that's how it's supposed to work - the rest of the system is wrong and we will fix that". So iPhone users might not have much choice anyway soon!
Kind of reminds me of how terrible mouse acceleration is on OSX, and how Apple gradually removed all the options for fixing it - now the only option is to install a completely different commercial mouse driver (SteerMouse).
This is not exactly what you want, but you can choose to open all search results (and by extension AMP results) in an external browser instead of the search app. For me, opening AMP links on FireFox redirects me to the non-AMP page, effectively eliminating AMP pages (technically they are still AMP results but in practice you get redirected to the non-AMP page).
To do that, from https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/7013866?hl=en - Open the Google search app. Tap the hamburger menu. Tap Settings. Tap "Accounts & Privacy". Turn off "Open web pages in app".
I'm wondering though if there's a way for the user to opt out (besides of not using google?). It seems like while it mostly benefits users, they should still have option to simply opt out from AMP.
I'm only seeing a Windows build on the website. Doesn't help OP much when they have a phone: "Please especially in third-world, we have so poor phones."
I don't know if you've been to Africa, but PCs are not common there unless you're working in a company. Depending on where you are, a small portion of the population has personal laptops. Otherwise feature phones or smartphones are the best people have. So linking to a Windows-only application for someone who lives in a developing country and only lists a cellphone may not be very applicable to them.
Good news! iOS 11 fixes this. Safari actually has an inconsistent scrolling speed compared to the rest of the OS. iOS 11 makes all Safari pages scroll at the same speed as AMP sites (-webkit-overflow-scrolling: touch)
Also important distinction for people to remember - AMP is two products:
- CDN with preloading pages in Google Search results
- Framework/guidelines for building performant results
The 'morals' and impacts to the 'free and open web' of these two are completely different.
- The specs/docs for building AMP pages, which can be found on www.ampproject.org - note that, a lot of these are non-free, like standardized components for specific media/social sites, and requires you to include script tags for cdn.ampproject.org component implementations. This all tells you how to add an AMP version of your page to your site, and how to link it to the original content.
- The "Google AMP Cache" CDN that hosts cached versions of AMP pages under .cdn.ampproject.org - it seems that anyone can use this...? Note these are in a separate context than the google search result page (that people think of as "AMP pages") which means a generic XSS on AMP isn't an XSS on google.com.
A lot of discussion about AMP seems to muddy all three of these things together, which is a bit unsurprising considering Google's messaging muddles them together, but I think it's important to distinguish between them. In the "Twitter AMP redirect" case of the article, only the first portion is coming into play.
As an aside - if you're interested in seeing how AMP works under the hood I highly recommend the Chrome Android USB debugging - I hadn't played with this before trying to figure out how AMP worked and it was really a godsend to be able to "Inspect Element" on my phone, especially because anything AMP-related is very aggressive about only AMPing to phones on cell networks.
It doesn't fix the "crappy wrapper that wants to do its own scolling instead of complying with the system" issue though.
This page should demonstrate the same scrolling behaviour as AMP pages on iOS, without any 'custom' non-native scrolling https://s.codepen.io/joshhunt/debug/Xgeyoo
Point being, UX should dictate design, not vice-versa. If you can't implement something the way you want without messing up something as important as scrolling then don't do it.
The irony here is that the two most important features of the web are arguably URLs and scrollable pages. And AMP screwed up both of them.
No, Google won't give you the special AMP-bolt - nor should they because they can't provide the instant load as they can for other AMP sites that they self-host on their CDN.
After reading this I may just bite the bullet and remove AMP and just cut out a bunch of crap to get it optimized for lower bandwidth devices.
AMP, also made by Google, seems to somehow get around this browser setting, making AMP sites unreadable and therefore completely useless to me.
Why does Google have these obvious discrepancies between their own products?
This is the only way I can imagine we ended up with 437 different messaging apps and counting, and the problem you described.
Why is that? Seems a bit ironic...
It has less ads, less bloat, better signal/noise ratio, and the AMP websites look pleasant to eye. So I prefer them even on desktop, ironically.
I still have the issues with Google's AMP caching. But AMP itself is great.
I am using this simple extension that shows me when a website has AMP version and I switch to it (not sure if there is an extension that does this automatically). Doesn't work 100% though
oh, this one seems to do it automatically. Nice
AMP is a good idea, unfortunately it needs strong actors like Google or Twitter to push it.
There is absolutely no reason for sites such as the one linked here to have AMP enabled. It's a pox on the web and Google has enough power as it is. The sooner AMP dies the better. If you want your site to load faster get rid of the cruft.
> AMP tries to load an image only when it becomes visible to the user, rendering a white square instead of the image. In my experience I’ve seen it fail fairly regularly, leaving the article with an empty white square instead of the image.
Text content is very fast, but images either don't load or partially load making the reading experience pretty poor.
It's hard to believe how bloated many modern websites are, before trying to load them over 2G. We're talking megabytes of data and tens of connections to display what should be a 20kB of text.
I notice this fairly regularly in marginal network coverage (subway tunnels/platforms) where AMP pages load no faster than any well-optimized site unless the stars are aligned and you actually get a cache hit.
The general rule about inclining render-blocking resources matters here, too.
I've found one way to mostly work around it while still using Google as my default search engine and that is to use encrypted.google.com. Obviously this doesn't remove AMP from links sent to me but it's something.
I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Google closes that loophole.
Could you verify that? It should be a matter of popping open the Developer tools.
Google is attempting to entrench a reverse proxy cache the same way Akamai has for years. AMP is nothing new. The only difference here is that they make it obvious you're using a CDN, whereas Akamai is almost completely transparent and runs close to 80-90% of the traffic of the "open" web -- you just don't know about it.
Opt-in by the publisher, of course.
That link is in the frontpage of cnn.com right now. I disabled my cache, disabled uBlock and refreshed the page. 329 network requests and 3.9 megabytes of data transfer later, the page is still loading.
The only value to the user is that if you work somewhere dysfunctional you may be able to say “AMP doesn't allow that” and have it stick in a way that saying “This will bloat our page load times” will not.
(b) Google can track users better
(c) Google gives AMP pages an advantage in the search, often even catapulting page 13 results to before the top #1 result – due to the AMP carousel.
But with the lightning symbol next to Instant-supported links? Click right away. In the worst case, if the content is bad, you will back where you were in a second.
Unless you're hosting a webserver on your computer, your server is most likely being hosted in the cloud somewhere (aka some random computer somewhere in the world). How is it being on a Google server, instead of company X's server, suddenly disgusting?
I remember using the web on a 56k modem (which was pretty damn fast!) and waiting 30+ seconds for pages to fully load.
Also, you can get pretty close to the experience from the 90s if you disable loading images in your browser and/or use uMatrix or something similar. You'd be amazed how much faster it makes the web, at least on the pages which support plain HTML (instead of rendering everything in JS). You will be missing most of the visual bells and whistles, but it was also like that back in the day: not only did graphic elements (and don't even mention Java applets) take forever to load, they frequently stopped loading altogether, leaving you with a cute Netscape icon in a place where the image should be.
I guess what I want to say is that there was never a time when a majority of "webmasters" designed their pages for simplicity. People creating the web pages were testing the limits of the medium since its inception, and what we have now is a consequence of the limits being removed by better technology.
In other words, people who create websites were always shooting themselves and their users in the foot, back then with some ASG, then later with increasingly potent guns and now they're shooting with 10 meters long cannon. And it's not going to get any better, unfortunately, because most people want their eye candy - just as much now as back in the nineties.
Online banking and shopping come to mind as 2 things that have greatly improved convenience for the average Joe user. Not to mention some interactive tutorials and complex calculators (is wolfram-alpha bloated? I honestly don't have the expertise to comment).
A warning - I turned off the AMP plug in and it effectively removed my site from Google for a week or so.
The Google cache takes ages to clear away all the now-dead links and will serve 404s to your users. A nice incentive to stay trapped in their monoculture.
Oddly enough Apple is changing the scrolling behavior in Safari for iOS 11 to scroll how the amp pages do.
This way will create dozens of tech companies competing with AMP focused on making the web faster - the end result that Google supposedly wants and everyone wins!
I've switched to Firefox and DuckDuckGo and started moving non-tech people over (and they seem happy enough too). It's not in our interest to let the whole tech market consolidate into 5 walled gardens
When I go to news.google.com an click of any of the AMP links on the front page, I always get thrown back to news.google.com when I scroll on the AMP page.
See, this is the point where AMP provides actual benefit. Many sites don't function at all without JS. AMP gives me a site that actually works without the extra crap.
JS in my mind is for fancy apps like Google Maps (non amp) and serving ads.
Try to find a popular website without JS. Even HN uses it, so this is a moot point.
They want the Google nav buttons on your site to keep the user inside their experience
The thing is, every one of is an end-user at some point. Every Google employee, every CNN investor, every startup founder, every venture capitalist uses technology constantly.
I suspect they are just as bothered, but don't really have a choice about this either. Placement on the search results page is so valuable that Google holds a really big stick when introducing new 'standards' like this.
Just look how little of a typical mobile SERP is real 'organic' content now: http://imgur.com/UhNZvL2
Notice how 2/3rds of the page is taken by the app’s own UX, and of the shown results, another 40% is taken by embedded content.
The page shows only 9 search results, and zero above the fold.
A webview is a bit like AMP but it is still better then a true native Android app (when it is easily avoidable).
I want to see the original URL, certainly not a CDN mirror URL that could obfuscate or muddy the source.
It's similar to Yelp's strategy: create a new problem for businesses, then sell them a (partial) solution to it.
EDIT: I'm curious about the downvotes - care to elaborate what you disagree with? The author indicated that SEO was a driving force for using AMP, so I think that being curious about the outcome would be acceptable...
On the other hand, mobile pages suck. Too many ads, annoying popups and interstitials, and tracking scripts.
Ideally it would save / share the original URL, not the AMP url.
FB posts are often not about anything, unlike news articles. FB and YT are entirely different.
Thought it felt wrong. Makes me want to use Google less and less
* Do a Google query containing an AMP result
* Zoom in the Google search (since it's not very accessible either)
* Open an AMP page
Result: You can't zoom out anymore and left-to-right scrolling is unavailable in this state. So you have to go back, zoom out and click the link again. After which you can sometimes zoom back in again.
This makes browsing a real hassle. I know Google doesn't care that much about accessibility, but boy this drives me crazy almost every day of the week.
Those criticizing AMP have it wrong, Google could have very well just bypassed AMP for "instant publisher app" (something that if Apple did the same people (Gruber etc.) would wax poetic about how it was stroke of genius), instead you at least get to keep HTML/JS/CSS stack, without any "gatekeepers" like the Apple App Store.
So yeah unless you are a mobile App developer, AMP is great for both developers and readers!