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Google AMP is bad for e-commerce (thirtybees.com)
367 points by themaveness on Aug 16, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 152 comments



Despite understanding and largely agreeing with the concerns against AMP Cache that get discussed any time an AMP article gets posted on HN, I cannot stress enough on how relieved I feel to see the lightning icon next to a mobile search result, especially on my now aging phone.

Most content websites have become such a massive crapfest of ad-bloat, bad UX, huge page sizes and general usability hell that it's nigh impossible that I'd be able to reach the actual content of a non AMP site in the first 5-10 seconds of clicking on its link. (On my phone that's an additional 1-2 seconds for registering the tap, and 1-2 seconds for navigating to the browser)

My click-throughs to non AMP websites have reduced considerably.

So say what you may, AMP (or FB Instant or its ilk) will prosper until the mobile web experience stops being so crappy.

(Edit: About a decade ago, when mobile browsers were in their infancy and data plans were slow and limited, I distinctly remember using Opera Mini for mobile browsing because it used to pre-render pages on the server and send a very light payload to the phone. This saved you both data costs and made mobile browsing even realistically possible)


Personally I don't think the idea behind AMP is bad. But the implementation is dangerous as it artificially fragments the web. I guess fewer would oppose AMP if google made some machine verifiable guidelines for "light" webpages that would earn them this "icon". Linked from the "fat" page by some "link" meta tag.


>if google made some machine verifiable guidelines for "light" webpages that would earn them this "icon". Linked from the "fat" page by some "link" meta tag.

That is exactly what AMP is; with the exception (a huge one, I know) that Google also then caches the page on their server and serves it from a google.com host.


For Google, the hijack is the prime feature; AMP is the PR vehicle that makes it swallow.

AMP could have been done without the huge exception, but then Google couldn't profit from it.


The fast, non-blocking content loading is the main feature. I took a radical path when developing my site and made it AMP-first. Instead of having an AMP version of each page, every page is its own AMP version because it's an AMP page.

Even served from my cheapo shared web host and not Google's AMP cache, I have pretty-much instant loading of all pages: http://multithreaded.link/2017/08/lyft-customer-acquisition-...

It's a good framework for building super fast pages. I will admit it's a little riskier to build a site on top of technology a large company owns, but this is a risk that you also have when you use React or other frameworks.


> this is a risk that you also have when you use React or other frameworks

React isn't a good analogy. When you use React, you can get 100% of the value of the library, even if Facebook disappears overnight.

By contrast, much of the benefit of AMP is the caching aspect, which relies on Google.


> The fast, non-blocking content loading is the main feature.

You don't need requires-js-to-render markup or a cache operated by a privacy whoring ad company to make a page load quickly.

Edit: also, comparing to react or whatever js framework is like saying "look at my new cast iron shoes, they're so much lighter than those old lead ones".


Your "About", "Contact", and "Privacy Policy" footer links don't work (they go to "#").


Yeah sorry about that! I just launched it recently so I'm still getting everything going. :)


Nice, on FF I get a white page because Google domains lurk in my hosts file. I suppose I'm not your target audience.


> For Google, the hijack is the prime feature; AMP is the PR vehicle that makes it swallow.

this is 100% true. yet somehow there are still those who swear this isnt the case. i've ranted about it previously [1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14695268


I think it's also about prefetching amp pages from Google search. You can't do that without the cdn.

Sure google could modify chrome to allow this and not block it. but you'd be asking for even more technical blockers. And you'd have something that only works for a small portion of the web.


Sounds like the perfect use case for a nice standard CORSy web prefetch API that all browsers could implement.

And this would work for at least as much of the web as is currently putting effort into AMP.


We are thinking about this. The problem is privacy. AMP can pre-render a page from publisher X without publisher X learning that this happened.

This is important for avoiding that you e.g. would suddenly see re-marketing ads for pages that you have never clicked.


Regardless of profit, if Google just made the AMP spec and didn't incentivize publishers to use it, well, no one would use it.


Not saying that's true, but if it is, wouldn't that mean AMP is not a desired product?

I fully support a "faster page spec" that search engines incentivize, just like I support a ranking boost for using HTTPS.

But AMP isn't that; AMP is incentivizing the payment of tribute data to Google under the veneer of a faster page spec, to steer the rhetoric more favorably for the company.


It's desired by the (non-paying) users, but not necessarily by web publishers. Here the desires of said users and Google align: they both want to see a search result quickly.


How much of this is actual desire by web publishers, and how much is just collective stupidity. Do they really want their websites to be a hassle to use? To have readers turn away because it doesn't load faster enough, or at all?

I think it is more likely that they just higher web-developers, according to some cultural norm about how to select devs and about what features to specify. And those devs choose frameworks according to other cultural norms about what makes a good web framework. They are partly, but not completely constrained in this by the requested features set.

The result is bloated JS applications where mere pages are required, but the complexity of the system, and the social inertia is so great that nobody can fix, or even perceive the problem.


They want their websites to make more money. If this takes some more time to (eventually) load but results in increase of total income, they have all incentives to add the "bloat". You know, boarding a train or a bus could be so much faster if the checking of tickets were not involved.


> wouldn't that mean AMP is not a desired product?

Well, kind of, in the same way that common-sense lightweight HTML/CSS/JS pages aren't a desired product for the people who make those decisions on publisher websites.


I want it as a consumer.

If AMP went away tomorrow I would just browsing on my phone. Ad blockers are not good enough, and I refuse to fight popups and scroll blockers and blah blah blah in 2017.


Maybe it's time to change websites you visit? If website is actively trying to prevent me from reading it I just don't do that.

If you are a publisher and think that you need AMP than it only means that your website sucks big time.


Go look at the hackernews frontpage. A good 90% of the links are to crap. Totally impossible to read on a phone.

If all I wanted to do was read hacker news comments I would be safe..


>For Google, the hijack is the prime feature

what does google get out of it? The experience is better for users who like fast, lightweight pages, but as far as i can tell there's no tangible direct benefit to google when you load an AMP page. The only benefit to google is if their users like the experience and continue to use Google search so they can access AMP-cached pages. If users don't like AMP, google gets no benefit.

or am i missing something?


Google's entire business model is tracking users as they use the internet in order to target ads.

Every AMPed page is contributing work towards improving the effectiveness and appeal of Google's product (selling ads), by adding data to the targeting algorithms.

If every piece of content on the internet is tracked -- through full UX hijack on Google's infrastructure -- that might be a trillion dollar holy grail.


The ux hijack will progress over time as well. Google knows how to boil users slowly so they never notice the heat.

AMP carousel pages have some subtle capture features that regular AMP pages don't. They will add more, then slowly move them to the regular AMP pages over time.


you think google doesn't already track the links you click on the SERP? they aren't learning anything new by putting a tracking code on the page that link takes you to.


People don't share google result links.

People absolutely share amp links.

Also, amp being google.com hosted means no more pesky same-origin privacy protections like limiting cookies.


I don't understand why this matters though?

Google is tracking you. If you don't want to be data-mined, you shouldn't be using Google. If you are using Google, it means you don't mind being tracked. It means you are placing the convenience that Google provides above your concerns about what a faceless corporation can do with your data. If you don't mind being tracked, AMP is not a problem.

I understand how you could dislike Google. I don't understand how you could dislike AMP specifically, but not necessarily google.


seriously? If you want to use any of a companies services, you have to agree to like any and all of their future changes to said service, no matter how monopoly-like they are or how many privacy protections they hack around?


Nothing has changed. AMP does not make Google's tracking more pervasive?


I want to prevent my users from being datamined, even if they found my site via Google.

But I also don’t want to end up basically deranked on Google by sites that have nothing to do with the result.

Just look at this example to see how AMP distorts the actual search ranking, by moving pages to #1 that have nothing to do with the topic, but happen to be on AMP: http://i.imgur.com/84FvZmA.png


There is nothing AMP related in that screenshot. Google doesn't link to AMP on desktop search results.


Uhm. Are we looking at the same image?

Not sure where you think AMP is coming into this? Those results seem relevant to me?


Fact is, Google would already have a complete profile on you for advertising purposes even without AMP. They offer more than enough services that track you that they don't really need AMP for tracking purposes.


How does google profit from serving these pages opposed to original content creator?


> That is exactly what AMP is

Except that there is mandatory 3rd-party javascript that needs to be loaded just to get it to render. That doesn't make sense if it really just were about lean pages


That's an extremely disingenuous statement. It's not just "a [huge] exception", it's the entire basis for google's strategy. AMP isn't just a standard for how to construct a website, it's a way for external entities like Google to host your site directly inside their site, so that they have ever-increasing access to your browsing behavior. Now Google doesn't just know what results you clicked on, but what links you're following inside those results, how long you stay on the pages, etc.

Facebook, twitter, reddit, etc already utilize similar techniques on their mobile apps to make it so "web links" you click just keep you in the app.

But the web (as in, not bespoke mobile apps, but what you get in a general-purpose web browser) is supposed to be decentralized and resistant to any one entity owning the end-to-end experience.

I'm aware that any other entity (like Bing for instance) could do the same thing that Google does, and that the AMP standard isn't what's at fault here, but there should be no doubt as to Google's motives.


So, that's not what AMP is. There's a reason google don't drop the incredibly unpopular hijacking of content, and it's not to do with edge caching, but control.


And modifies the pages UI.

And forces you to load content from Google’s CDN.

And so on.


You don't need new js-required-to-render markup to make a page lightweight


With Google I can never relax to think that something new will be a good thing for me, a user, but their "make mobile viewable" (or whatever the message is) reformatter for sites that still have 10 year old CSS could certainly result in some sort of signal displayed in search results. A mobile-viewability indicator, perhaps. I dunno, it sounds kinda hokey when I write it out like that, but I have to think they're going to productize it at some point.


It's pretty easy to detect the number of external scripts, media objects, fonts and images a page attempts to load.

But that wouldn't give google control and importantly, a sure-fire run around same-origin privacy protections.


>if google made some machine verifiable guidelines for "light" webpages that would earn them this "icon".

If you get a score above 95 or (X) on google page speed insights that might be a metric that everyone can agree on.


I can't for the life of me understand why the icon couldn't just be a link to the AMP version (or be located near the current cached link is), and the link would link to the normal page


The crazy thing is that content websites insist they need dozens of ad and analytics libraries on every page because otherwise, how would they monetize their site? So, they create a crappy experience, realize it's crappy, then switch to AMP, getting rid of all the libraries they supposedly "needed". They could just remove the cruft themselves and cut out the middleman.


In reality, they get scared of losing traffic by not adapting AMP, decide to implement it, and then flip out over how restrictive it is without understanding how they caused this situation.

It's all driven by money, and unfortunately AMP and bloated pages make money - fast, sexy pages without AMP do not.


> Most content websites have become such a massive crapfest of ad-bloat, bad UX, huge page sizes and general usability hell that it's nigh impossible that I'd be able to reach the actual content of a non AMP site in the first 5-10 seconds of clicking on its link.

Or just use Firefox for Android with uBlock extension and Reader Mode. No, it's not perfect but doesn't require parallel internet (Google's) to function.

I hope AMP meets the same fate as other Google's "works best in chrome" techniques such as PNaCl. Maybe we'll get something standardized out of it like PNaCl was replaced with WebAssembly?


There's ways Google could fix this without AMP, such as factoring in total page weight when ranking mobile search results.


It's not as simple as total page weight - latency and server throughput are also important. AMP pages are likely served from a fast global cache with low latency from all over the world.


Are you saying that global latency is not measurable?


As mentioned by others, page weight is a bit tricky. However, Google has this thing called "Google Page Speed" and that would actually be a pretty good indication on the performance part.

Then again - any site with good performance can be made unusable by crazy marketing people who wants [insert tracking tool here] on every page or similar.


Absolutely this.


I think that the fact AMP sites are faster than the average site is exactly what makes it so dangerous. Obviously there are plenty of sites out there that aren't bloated up with javascript and ads, but Google doesn't offer any way to identify that in the search results. The only reliable indicator of site speed is the Google AMP Cache logo. So naturally users will consciously or otherwise favour clicking results with the Google AMP logo. That drives more traffic to those sites, improves their search ranking etc. A non-GoogleAMPCache site could be incredibly lean and fast but it will still lose out to the Google AMP Cache hosted sites in terms of traffic and ranking. The only way to compete is to use Google's proprietary markup standard and cede hosting of your site to Google.


AMP isn’t that much faster, it’s still html, css and gobloads ofv js. The real speed increase is Google SERP sucking up your data plan and prerenders a whole loads of stuff without asking.


Well, here's an interesting data point to dig through insofar as AMP performance is concerned: http://www.webpagetest.org/result/170816_7R_b596415003dabf34...

Average Guardian article.


So 80% is js bloat? How does that optimizes for my experience?


But it's _their_ bloat.


I completely agree. As a programmer, I don't like it. As a user, I love it. I'm often on a crappy data connection or on an older device, and waiting for non-AMP pages to load is ridiculous. I'd usually choose the 10th search result over the 1st if the 10th is the first AMP one. (Provided that it looks suitable for whatever I was Googling.) It's that significant of an effect.


It would go a long way to the reform of the mobile web if they got rid of all the "pop-in" windows that are hard (and sometimes impossible) to dismiss.

Pop-ins are annoying on the desktop, but close to catastrophic on mobile.


The same AMP experience can be had with Firefox and uBlock Origin on old Android phones.


You aren't addressing the issue people have with AMP though. There's no reason Google couldn't boost site rankings and provide the little logo to compliant sitea and still allow the sites to host under their own domain.


I just use a content blocker to prevent JS, CSS, fonts, and images on all websites by default. Then if I care about the site, I can change permissions.

Medium.com now loads so fast, as well as other bloated publishers and newspapers. It's amazing how many tabs I can open, and I use so little bandwidth.

I end using my phone's screen reader usually, so I don't care about appearance. Just need good stories in the <html> :)


Same here. I can load sites with AMP (or its competitors) faster on my low-end to mid-range phones fine, and on a metered Internet connection.

As much as I don't like it on a webmaster / blogger perspective, it does help a lot in getting a wider audience than by only offering a "responsive theme".


Why not use Firefox with uBlock Origin addon for your phone?


The author seems to completely misunderstand the point of AMP. It was never designed or created for dynamic, interactive content, especially e-commerce.

This is like complaining that a hammer is bad for driving screws.


There are many people out there demanding their eCommerce websites "get on AMP" ASAP. The author is performing a valuable service to employees of such people.


Yeah, but if the hardware store doesn't have screwdrivers anymore, you can see why people might be upset.


Doesn't eBay use AMP? The issue is how you use it. I believe eBay uses it for the entry product page, and then any subsequent hit goes to the website itself.


Same for Reddit; it's a heavily abridged version of the post with maybe 5-10 comments. Then when you actually want to read the comments...you end up on full-scale Reddit instead of just going there in the first place.

I'm really not sure what I'm supposed to be getting out of these sorts of implementations if I'm in "researcher" mode.


>> It was never designed or created for dynamic, interactive content, especially e-commerce.

That was true. But its not true any more.

Google is now pushing AMP for pages like that.


I don't think its that. Its that AMP is borderline an anti-trust. But the point is, even with the speed and possible ranking boost, does it boost conversions? More traffic without conversions generally does not help an e-commerce site.


> Its that AMP is borderline an anti-trust.

And why is that?

> More traffic without conversions generally does not help an e-commerce site.

You should not be using AMP for e-commerce, at least not for anything but a static product page.

Again, if you try to drive a nail with a hammer and it doesn't work, the fault isn't on the hammer, it's on you.


> And why is that?

Because you only get a ranking boost if your page

> contains a <script async src="https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js"></script> tag inside their head tag.

and

> is allowed to be cached in the Google AMP cache


Yes, so your brochure site describing your product is an AMP page. But then a link to to the real ecommerce site to actually buy it.


As the otherwise pretty wrong article correctly states: There is no such ranking boost.


Not even for Google News purposes? That's 90% of the AMP links I see.


Was talking about Google Search. Don't know about News. But the original article was about e-commerce.


What if your ecommerce is fronted by news or blog?


News shows up in the Top Stories carousel, not all blogs. If the news is so newsworthy the Top Stories carousel is the right space.


Not correct.

Just look at this example: http://i.imgur.com/84FvZmA.png Notice how the news carousel is completely unrelated, and the pages do not otherwise show up in the search.

Also notice the awesome bug in Google where "Nazi flag" returns "Flag of Germany".


Oh, certainly for English results showing news results for that query is very, very relevant given what is going on in the US with people waving actual nazi flags. You can see that if you e.g. search for a flag that isn't in the news (like danish flag) there is no news result.

I'll report the flag bug.


You’d think so. But many blogs and ecommerce sites have started dressing their content up so that it ends up in that carousel, even if it’s not actually relevant.

Google always ends up putting news from a sailing event from last year in that carousel when I search stuff about my city. Especially awesome in Google News & Weather, where 90% of the news are from last year.

Google seems to just displays the top X search results that happen to be AMP, no matter how old they actually are.

That said, an antitrust complaint was filed with the EU anyway, so we can all just hope your employer is forced to end AMP sooner rather than later, and we can all replace it with a solution that doesn’t rely on any single group’s implementation.


Yeah, but load speed is, and imagine how skewed and unfair it is for Google to load an AMP page from its own cache and compare that to loading a page from someone else's (possibly objectively faster) site. And Google doesn't consider AMP pages cached from sources other than Google to be real AMP pages.


There is no AMP carousel at the top of the page? Are you sure?

This is the ranking boost mentioned: http://i.imgur.com/KsSmYH8.png

"Top stories" relevant to the search are shown, even if they’d otherwise be on page 10 or worse of the actual search.

Any AMP page can end up there, but only AMP pages. This is a ranking boost.


The carousel ranks in position one if it is determined to be the best result. It can rank way below. https://www.google.com/search?q=facebook is a good way to see that.

Original article was about e-commerce. The Top Stories carousel is not relevant to e-commerce since it only contains news articles.


> It can rank way below. https://www.google.com/search?q=facebook is a good way to see that.

It ranks at #2. With articles that otherwise end up at #14 (just checked).

That’s a 12 place ranking boost. You can’t get that anywhere else.

> Original article was about e-commerce.

You’re competing with ebay, and ebay uses AMP on all pages so that they get the #1 spot with the carousel.


Do you have a link where an ebay page shows up in a carousel?


You're taking the guidelines for the Google AMP Cache. Do you have any sources showing that an AMP page hosted by CloudFlare is demoted compared to on hosted on Google?


Yes. To quote the Google AMP Cache FAQ (https://developers.google.com/amp/cache/faq):

> Google products use the Google AMP Cache

Google products will only mark your page as AMP if you allow it to be included in the Google AMP Cache CDN.


First, how is it anti-trust? And second, it's been shown that faster page loads = better conversions since your bounce rate drops. This is especially true for mobile.


Imagine the scenario, a user lands on the AMP page and a user lands on a responsive page. Both have a question about shipping time. The AMP user has to navigate to a contact form to ask, then submit. The responsive user can just ask in the chat window on the page.


> The AMP user has to navigate to a contact form to ask, then submit. The responsive user can just ask in the chat window on the page.

Why would you use an AMP page for that? It was specifically NOT designed for those use cases.

Now back on your point: if the users who have a question are a small % of the total users, why would you have all users load the heavy chat window on mobile devices with limited screen space?


The point of AMP is to maximize time spent on Google SERP pages. Period. Time is money.

Whatever other benefits it brings are solely for the purpose of pitching it.


Conceptually I hate AMP. I wish they would just have guidelines for fast load times, and award better rank and a lightening badge next to pages that are adhering to those guidelines. I HATE that Google restricts design, re-formats pages, and serves your content.

That said, AMP clearly isn't for eCommerce. You want dynamic, personalized content for eCommerce. Recommendations based on past pages visited, or search terms, or your location... It's not just about fast loading pages.

Some eCommerce may fear that their sales will suffer if someone else gets a page that's in AMP and then Google's new rankings put that page over their own... But that's no reason to convert your site to AMP. It's a good reason to build out landing pages specific for search terms, do paid advertising around keywords, and just generally market your products / site.

Generally speaking, people who come in to product pages straight from Google are just doing price comparison anyway -- it's just a step in the decision journey, but if you've done a proper job of marketing your business, customers that buy tend to go straight to your site and do a search using your own search tools.


Why would you build your whole site on AMP??? Please read this before think about build AMP. https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/12/progressive-web-amp...


Because many managers hear "AMP gets boosted in search results and a special icon" and stop hearing anything after that. The number of times I've had to tell people "No, you can't do that with AMP" is crazy.


> Why would you build your whole site on AMP???

To get a ranking boost? For some search terms, moving to full AMP gives you a ranking boost catapulting you from page 13 or worse to the #1 result. So if you don’t use that, someone else will use that advantage.


Guardian for example runs their own AMP cache and gets in page 1 without Google AMP cache. Also AMP is one in many factors that is used to decide site relevance. Amazon and many other sites that don't use AMP gets featured in page 1 on mobile.


The guardian may run their own CDN, but all guardian search results in Google Search redirect to the Google AMP cache.

For example, current #1 result for "guardian" is https://www.google.de/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/a...


AMP is fine. AMP Cache is embrace, extended and break the web in fairly fundamental ways.


Cloudflare provides AMP cache. If you don't want to use Google CDN.


Cloudflare's AMP cache is even worse. If someone goes to a website behind/rehosted on Cloudflares AMP that has a link from that site to a third party site (say, yours or mine) that third party site will be spidered and also rehosted on Cloudflare AMP.

Then when someone goes to the intentionally Cloudflare AMP site and clicks through to your site your actual domain never gets the hit. Instead all traffic remains within Cloudflare and you never see it.

Additionally, after 2 months of trying to contact anyone at Cloudflare about this exact situation happening with the most popular page on my domain (saw the cloudflare AMP bot in the logs) I still can't get a real person. Their support is attrocious.


Get a lawyer. They're copying your content and misrepresenting a link to their site as yours.


Then when someone goes to the intentionally Cloudflare AMP site and clicks through to your site your actual domain never gets the hit. Instead all traffic remains within Cloudflare and you never see it.

Sounds pretty nice, no? Where can I sign up to reduce my hosting bill?


That still doesn’t give you any of the ranking boost – that is only given if you allow Google to cache it on their CDN. Google does that by default, you likely don’t even notice it, but if you try to prevent it, you lose the ranking boost.


Can you provide a reference where it says that there is rank boost for AMP sites. AFAIK if you're site is fast it will get some boost only in mobile. But it doesn't need to be an amp site. Gurdian for example runs their own AMP cache.


Pages that use AMP get a massive indirect ranking boost. Yes, they don’t get directly boosted, but they get added to the AMP carousel, between the ads and the #1 result, or between the #1 and #2 result. If, for a given search term, none of the top pages have an AMP result, Google will boost the first 3-4 pages that have an AMP result to this place – even if they’d organically rank on page 10 or later. In some situations, I’ve seen results from page 13 boosted to #1.

For example, none of the newspapers reporting about stuff where I live support AMP, but a few US newspapers that report about sports events that happened years ago do.

So when I search about stuff in my city, at the top there’s an AMP carousel with news from years ago, and below that only the actual results.


> That still doesn’t give you any of the ranking boost – that is only given if you allow Google to cache it on their CDN

No, you only get the boost if you allow any CDN to cache it.

Please stop making the same baseless claim without providing sources.


The news carousel is all AMP just by chance and ranks higher in the page than the results; arguing semantics over the meaning of ranking is irrelevant if the most clicked thing is always AMP.


That is the same result. I want to prevent Google (or anyone but the user’s browser addons and me) from modifying the UI of the page, adding any UI, swipe gestures, or from caching it.

How can I do that AND get the same spot in Google search?


"AMP does not allow for use of forms". This is wrong https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/components/amp-for...

…and similarly the rest of the article seems badly researched.


The biggest key to me was the complete ignorance of why a pagespeed might be higher despite "overall load time" being slower.

Perhaps, author, because of how those pages are painted


There's a whole lot wrong with this article. Chief for me is the absolute ignorance around AMP -> PWA flow and browser-native payments API: https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2016/07/payment-re...

This tech may seem trivial to broadband users, but has demonstrated itself to be effective in mobile-heavy, low-bandwidth markets (ref India & myntra.com)


So AMP is not even faster than other mobile pages without the google CDN? A pity so many prefer something like AMP to generally stripping down their sites. Get rid of JS unless absolutely necessary, compress/remove images, remove all this ad and bloat, and your page, whatever category it fits in, will load blazyingly fast. What happened to good old sole HTML and CSS, served statically or server-generated for lightning speed?


It's not only not faster but it's often slower — AMP puts 100KB of render-blocking JavaScript into the critical path. If you can render a page with less than that, you're likely to beat it, which I see regularly on iOS.


Not only that, but because of the limitations of AMP, many AMP sites are getting slower and slower as they attempt workarounds. I've seen many sites recently that do section headers as a large image-as-text, I'd guess because they want to use a custom font? Even worse is AMP won't load images until you've scrolled them into view.


AMP is terrible for the decentralized, open Web in general.


Breaking down a few of the concerns in this article:

> With AMP [chat applications] cannot be used

True currently. There are no chat application amp extensions, yet. This could change in the future. Vendors interested in implementing one for AMP should get involved at http://github.com/ampproject/amphtml

> AMP does not have any markup specific to checkouts

Most web pages move from shopping cart to payment by changing URLs. This would work just fine with an AMP page. There is in fact at least one vendor who has integrated payments with AMP already: https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/components/amp-acc...

Also take a look at https://ampbyexample.com/advanced/payments_in_amp/

> AMP does not allow for use of forms

See https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/components/amp-for...

> They really do not support a logged in state, or user preferences. Things like recommended products, or recently viewed products will not work with an AMP page. None of the personalization aspects like “Hi, Lesley” are done with AMP.

See the (perhaps poorly named) https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/components/amp-lis... This supports loading content specific to the user, even on a cached amp document.

> if search and filtering are a large part of your site’s mobile navigation, AMP will be useless.

This is exactly what amp-bind was built for: https://ampbyexample.com/components/amp-bind/

> Google Analytics is not supported on AMP

Google Analytics is fully supported in AMP. Here's the Google Analytics support page: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection...

> If you use a different suite of tracking such as Piwik or kissmetrics, they will not work with AMP.

There is a large list of analytics vendors that have direct support here: https://www.ampproject.org/docs/guides/analytics/analytics-v...

Other vendors can be added with a small amount of configuration. Here's a guide for Piwik, for example: https://www.elftronix.com/guide-to-using-piwik-analytics-wit...

Alternatively, vendors can submit a configuration to the AMP project which is just a few lines of JSON, then the vendor will be supported more directly.

> Ad Revenue is Decreased

The link is to a single article from a year ago. There are many studies pointing to the opposite effect as well.

> A/B testing is not supported

See https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/components/amp-exp...

> Performance

I'm not sure what URLs the author used, but I tried to find a similar overstock recliner page that might be the right one. I found:

https://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Recliners/Leather,/mat...

The author tries to use a google.com/amp URL, but these redirect when not coming from a search click. Much easier is to take the CDN amp URL, which is served the same way:

https://cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.overstock.com/Home-Garden...

I loaded both of these in Chrome, simulated a mobile device, network tab, and throttling with Fast 3G. Here were my results:

* non-AMP: 42 requests, 1.1 MB transferred, Finish: 10.3s, DomContentLoad: 3.38s, Load: 9.52s

* AMP: 35 requests, 408 KB transferred, Finish 5.87s, DomContentLoaded 1.28s, Load: 5.88s

The AMP page is 60% smaller and hits the load event in 40% less time. However "loaded" is a funny term in the world of javascript driven websites and needs to be looked at more carefully.

I suspect that the author's referenced tool is reporting "fully loaded time" as the time that the last network event ended. AMP pages intentionally delay loading images below the fold to prioritize visible content. This results in some images loading later without impacting the user experience. For example, as I scrolled in the AMP page, the "Finish" time would move ahead to a new time as new images were loaded. With events like analytics triggers, looking at the time the last network event finished is typically a misleading metric and won't work correctly with most amp documents.

If you load filmstrips in Chrome's Performance Tab, you can see this more clearly. Filmstrips display what the page looked like at snapshots in time after loading starts. For my quick test with network throttling, the non-AMP page takes a little over 6s to finish reaching it's final state and the AMP page takes about 2.2s. So AMP here is nearly 3x faster as the user would perceive it on similar connection speed.


Privacy issues aside, I don't get AMP, most of the time it doesn't even work right and I'm using chrome on my android tablet.

It either doesn't load or goes back to the previous page after a few seconds.


Disclaimer: I'm working on ROBOAMP (an AMP generator)

AMP has limitations, like any piece of technology. Once you understand the limitations you should be able to plan your attack accordingly.

We are pre-launch but if you want early access and test our automatic generator please email me.


Should have stopped at Google AMP is bad.


Anyone else annoyed at how evernote web clips are completely busted on AMP pages?


I imagine it will likely be shelved soon either by lawsuit or just by Google's closing it down.


I appreciate your optimism, but my read is that current Google management is very heavily invested in this idea and will fight hard before they give it up.

In addition AMP has penetrated other platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The cat is out of the bag, and it will not be easy to put it back.


The cat is out of the bag, and it will not be easy to put it back.

Yup, now that those damn users have gotten a taste of speed & low data usage, it's gonna be hard to drag them back to how it used to be. We had a good thing going, and they didn't know any better.


No one is advocating for users to have a bad experience and large downloads.


The author of the article being discussed expressly states that AMP is bad because it doesn't allow chat services or 3rd party integrations. Those are two examples of things that often lead to a bad experience and large downloads.


I agree. AMP Cache discrimination won’t be shelved by Google, but by the antitrust cases that will destroy Google otherwise.


>I imagine it will likely be shelved soon either by lawsuit or just by Google's closing it down

AMP isn't going anywhere so don't get your hopes up. But, by all means I encourage you to initiate a lawsuit if only to see you fleeced by a lawyer for your litigious attitude.

Also, the article you linked to is so full of inaccuracies that it's impossible to take it seriously.


What keeps you from simply not using it?


Oh? So how do I get into the AMP carousel on Google search without implementing AMP on my site?

This is a major ranking factor, in some situations moving sites that would be on page 13! to the #1 spot in search. In other cases, the effect is less visible.

That is what keeps people from not implementing AMP.

And you get this ranking benefit not for using AMP, or for a certain performance, but it is given to everyone that uses Google’s AMP version, from Google’s CDN, with Google’s tracking solutions. If I want to run AMP from my own CDN, I can’t do it, and if I want to avoid Google’s cache, because I have my own CDN, I also don’t get the ranking boost.


> If I want to run AMP from my own CDN, I can’t do it

Got a source for that? I always heard that the criteria for the carousel was AMP-compatibility, not being hosted on Google's CDN.


I don't have a "source", but that is accurate from what I was told by the team behind AMP. In order to make it into carousel, AMP content has to be served from Google cache.

https://www.alexkras.com/i-had-lunch-with-google-amp-team/


There is no direct source, but you can try it, or just look at the current implementation.

Currently, Google serves AMP by serving all AMP search results from its own cache, which allows Google to add features such as the header bar, or the swiping between carousel elements. This doesn’t work if the pages are from different origins.

EDIT: I found some sources:

> contain a <script async src="https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js"></script> tag inside their head tag.

https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/spec#required-mark...

Which prevents self-hosting the JS

And https://developers.google.com/amp/cache/faq

> Q: Can I stop content from being cached?

> A: No. By using the AMP format, content producers are making the content in AMP files available to be cached by third parties. For example, Google products use the Google AMP Cache to serve AMP content as fast as possible.


> Q: Can I stop content from being cached?

How different is this from common HTML caching done all over the web? And that's about using the Google AMP Cache, not about using AMP.

And you still didn't provide a source about "having to use Google's CDN".

Essentially: do AMP pages hosted on Cloudflare's cache do not get into Google Search carrousel?


The answer to your question is no: google's search results only ever link to google's cache for your page.

Link here:

https://blog.branch.io/google-accelerated-mobile-pages-amp-a...

> Anyone can use a CDN to set up and run an AMP cache, but only content in Google’s cache (which Google has stated can be used without restriction and at no cost) is currently getting preferred search results treatment

But the whole point is kinda moot because AMP requires that your assets be "cacheable", which means google will come along and cache them, and the search results will use the google-cached version.

So sure, another CDN could cache your stuff, but nobody clicking through a google search result will ever hit it.


> How different is this from common HTML caching done all over the web? And that's about using the Google AMP Cache, not about using AMP.

> And you still didn't provide a source about "having to use Google's CDN".

This is the issue I meant with Google’s CDN/Cache.

If a user clicks a link to an AMP page in Google search, they are not redirected to your page. They ALWAYS get the cached version from Google, and Google modifies your page by adding UI, and changing other functionality (for example, the left/right swipe gestures are changed to navigate to other Google search results).

You can not opt out of this while still appearing in the carousel.


Cloudflare Serves as a AMP CDN


Could you show us some examples of AMP sites served from Cloudflare (and not the Google AMP cache) that show up in the Google AMP carousel and get the AMP logo in the Google search results?


The burden is on you to prove that they don't.


How can I prove a negative?

I can only point to what the Google AMP documentation says, where they state that you have to allow your site to be served by Google AMP Cache to count as an AMP site: https://developers.google.com/amp/cache/faq and https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/about-amp

Maybe they don't follow their own docs and there are sites out there not cached in the Google AMP Cache that still get placed in the carousel. I have no way to prove that without being able to test every single possible search term (plus all the other variables like location which affect the results).


The wording is that you have to allow you page (not site) to be cached by any CDN.


And yet, you only get a ranking boost if you allow Google to cache your page on their CDN. You can not run your own modified version of the AMP js, or run AMP’s js from your servers, or opt out of being cached by Google’s CDN and get the ranking boost.

To quote the AMP specs, a page is only eligible for showing up as AMP in search if it

> contains a <script async src="https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js"></script> tag inside their head tag.

and

> is allowed to be cached in the Google AMP cache


I cannot see AMP remaining viable in the long run. I think there is going to be a lot of push back or non adoption because the walled garden is just a way to track users and advertise to them better.


What do you say about blogs? I understand that AMP is harmful to e-commerce based websites but what about blogs that are totally based on content and Google ads? How does it impact them?


wtf is this guy talking about? This article has so many errors, it should be retracted.


Mot google projects die organically, with a short life span. No need to keep bashing AMP like this.


This particular AMP-bashing post just reminded me to go change mobile Safari's default search engine to DDG, which I'd been meaning to do so I stop being sent to terrible AMP pages, but kept forgetting to do because in the moment I'm always more interested in finding the info I want on a non-AMP page than fiddling with settings. So it was useful to me.


You can use Duck Duck Go to stop Google showing you AMP links in search results by starting your searches with "!g".

If AMP was so good for me vs just good for Google I would expect them to allow opt out for those, like me, that don't want to see AMP results.


So, to avoid having to argue the same problems always again, here’s a summary of some of the technical and antitrust issues with AMP:

1. You have to embed the AMP version from Google’s servers, you can’t self-host the AMP js, or run it from another CDN. This makes your site unavailable in, for example, China, relies on Google’s systems, and ensures that Google knows every user of your site.

Source: https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/spec#required-mark...

> contain a <script async src="https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js"></script> tag inside their head tag.

2. You need to allow Google to cache the content, and all Google products will always link to the Google cache version. You can not opt out of this. You can not ensure users visit your own CDN version. You can not prevent Google from displaying modified versions of the pages (for example, the header UI of AMP pages in Google search, and the swiping between pages gesture).

Source: https://developers.google.com/amp/cache/faq

> Q: Can I stop content from being cached?

> A: No. By using the AMP format, content producers are making the content in AMP files available to be cached by third parties. For example, Google products use the Google AMP Cache to serve AMP content as fast as possible.

3. Pages that use AMP get a massive indirect ranking boost. Yes, they don’t get directly boosted, but they get added to the AMP carousel, between the ads and the #1 result, or between the #1 and #2 result. If, for a given search term, none of the top pages have an AMP result, Google will boost the first 3-4 pages that have an AMP result to this place – even if they’d organically rank on page 10 or later. In some situations, I’ve seen results from page 13 boosted to #1.


Tried today to find a way to let amp-img mimic CSS' background-size cover paired with background-position. Not possible, so I need still to use CSS' background-image without AMP's preloading feature.

This is one of the most used features in HTML/CSS to handle images, people are complaining in the Github issues, others rewrite the whole Internet in AMP with AMP components.

This is ridiculous, Google just wants to restrict other ad networks' JS and recreates HTML/CSS/JS for no real reason.




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