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The meaning of AMP (adactio.com)
305 points by robin_reala 84 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 169 comments



It's hard to have a good-faith debate about AMP when Google says that AMP sites aren't given favor in search results, by defining the carousel as not being part of search results.


Even outside the carousel; three weeks ago we implemented AMP with our content marketing strategy and we have received 34% more visits.

I don't think people our target is more inclined into clicking on AMP results as they're non-technical, I'm guessing we're higher in the results.


I don't think people our target is more inclined into clicking on AMP results as they're non-technical

The whole point of AMP is to target those users. Hence the little lightning bolt. Even non-technical users can notice "hey this had a lightning bolt and it was fast"


I do user research for a living, and even technical users appear to be blind to this kind of features. Maybe they're delighted by how fast the site loads after they tap the result, but can't see them making the connection between the bolt and the load speed.

But I'm digressing, what I'm seeing it's a sudden and constant traffic increase in a short time span. I'm sure it's not because the result that was on 3rd place now has a bolt icon and users are craving it; it's because my result is higher.


There are thousands of threads on search ranking forums of folks reporting traffic rising or falling significantly, right after making change X on their site, for myriad values of X, many of which make zero sense as a ranking factor.

Search ranking is complex, and sites move in search referrals by ~30% on a daily basis without making any changes. Perhaps a different major site removed pages. Perhaps a few important links were added to your site (or to a site linking to your site).


as someone who tracks rank on a daily basis and in great detail. i can tell you that rank [and traffic] changes can very clearly be attributed to specific events or actions such as new inbound organic links or new on-page changes. for web properties that have few changes which occur daily, it is very easy to see the direct impact from deploying something specific within the following week or two. there is no ambiguity as to where these things come from. our rank is very steady across thousands of keywords over time and any statistically significant changes are never a mystery.

to say that the boosted position/visibility of AMP can somehow get lost in the "noise" of rank fluctuations from other factors is demonstrably false. i dunno what kool-aid you guys are selling over there, but i'm certainly not buying it.

the mission of AMP is fully Google-centric, not user centric. it is possible and easy to build pages faster than AMP without any of AMP's additional artificial limitations. AMP's carrot is that you get much greater visibility and faster loading as a result of pages being hosted on google's servers and loading via a pre-established TLS/TCP session.

you can read more here: https://www.reddit.com/r/javascript/comments/78fevc/amplify_...

real-world AMP pages are not what they're billed to be:

https://imgur.com/a/OPVdN

https://imgur.com/a/mt6s6


If your AMP site is actually better (faster, cleaner, better adapted to mobile, etc ...) then it is possible that these 34% more visits really are deserved.


> If your AMP site is actually better (faster, cleaner, better adapted to mobile, etc ...)

Well yes, it is faster because of the strict guidelines you must follow; it's cleaner because we are not including the menu stuff and things we need for desktop, and it's better adapted for mobile since it's the only platform in which Google puts AMP results.

I'm very happy with the surge of visits, but my point was that if Google says AMP won't give you a better position on search results, what I'm seeing is the opposite.


Had you updated your site to be faster, cleaner, and better adapted to mobile without any of the AMP-specific bits, you may have seen a similar or the same jump in search results


Yes, it might. But the truth is that in 3 weeks the traffic has increased and the only thing that changed was AMP.


How do you know it was the page loading and not the carousel that caused the increase?


How do you know it wasn't? :)


I think this one comes down to industry vs colloquial definitions.

In the search industry, the organic search results are what you're referring to when talking about the ranking algorithm, and of a ranking factor being given an advantage.

Having other verticals integrated like maps, news, or this carousal are seen as different elements altogether (eg. local search, shopping search).

But of course, colloquially, "search" just means any result that comes up when you search on the page. So this has created some friction when Google says that Amp pages have no impact on search.


I think Google is fully aware of what people mean when they say that AMP is given priority in search results. Insider terminology is an excuse to not confront the issue.

This is why we can't have the discussion with Google; they are knowingly deflecting.


The crazy thing about AMP to me is that we wouldn't have nearly as much front-end bloat on the web if it wasn't for the data-driven (read: click-driven) form of advertising championed by (who else?) Google. They put the burden on small time publishers for fixing a problem that they created.

Some of the stuff I see Google and Facebook doing to the web developer community these days makes Microsoft in the mid-00s seem like a model citizen.


> The crazy thing about AMP to me is that we wouldn't have nearly as much front-end bloat on the web if it wasn't for the data-driven (read: click-driven) form of advertising championed by (who else?) Google. They

Interstitial ads, pop-over requests to subscribe to a new letter. Multiple delay loaded banner ads that cause the page to jump around. Auto-play videos that jump around the screen as the user scrolls. I have even seen news sites with multiple videos that play at once.(!!) Pages that auto-forward after so many seconds on them (WHY?? I am trying to read your content!), pages that take over swipe behaviors so that I accidently end up on the "next" news story. Articles presented as captions under an image gallery, and somehow loading each JPEG is 2-3 seconds of jank.

There are lots of reasons things have gotten bad. Analytics JS is just one of them.

AMP takes care of all (most) of these problems. Pages load in less than 2 seconds, and articles can be scrolled through without the page incessantly jumping around.


If it wasn’t those two it’d be someone else. You might not even have the web as we kno it without the ad analytics.

Unless you have a viable alternative monetization method?


I kind of liked it better when it was hobbyists and enthusiast sites. The "web as we know it" isn't necessarily a great thing.


Hobbyists and enthusiasts do not scale to ~3 billion people.


Neither do most other things done by hobbyists. I don't understand what you're saying. The only things that are good enough to do are those that scale to 3 billion people?


I am saying, if you want a web by and for hobbyists and enthusiasts, billions of people has to be excluded.

Where do you think new hobbyists come from?


I don't think lack of participation is the same thing as "exclusion". Bird watching is another enthusiast hobby. Anyone can do it. But not everyone wants to.


It seems clear at this point that several billions of people want to use the web, not just hobbyists.


Who says we need a monetization method?

The web existed and was great pre-advertising.


Also, if there is going to be monetization via advertising, why does it have to be a blind auction controlled by an algorithm driven by CPM with a huge cut going to Google?

I wonder what would happen if the major publications collectively decided to switch to impression-based rather than click-based metrics.


Good article.

My main objection to AMP is not that is it being portrayed as a community project (although, that does bother me). It is that Google are creating their own subset of already well established standards (HTML, CSS), and forcing developers to adopt them if they wish their content to appear at the top of search results.

If this is truly a project to increase the speed and readability of the Web, as it was initially promoted to be, Google have better tools for achieving that outcome (demoting excessively slow sites in search results, for example).

In it's current guise, AMP is little more than Google aiming to force all content on the web to be consistent with their own look-and-feel, and breaking the fundamental philosophy of the web in the process.


The look-and-feel argument is a misunderstanding of AMP. What you probably notice are pages generated by the Wordpress AMP plugin, which does not implement much in the way of different templates.

AMP has some severe constraints on javascript, but is pretty non-constrained on HTML and CSS.

Nearly all HTML5 tags and attributes are supported, including non-standard tags like <big>. It even allows super-non-standard tags like "<o:p>" which was part of an old microsoft word export-to-html feature.

Take a look at some of the examples on https://www.ampstart.com/

http://ampproject.org/ is AMP and https://daily.spiegel.de/ is AMP. These look very different.


Why do you think has Google created these restrictions on HTML and CSS code in AMP pages?


I do believe that it is an effort to increase the speed of pages, by preventing content creators from doing things that can harm the user's experience on slower connections - I just don't think it's the right way to go about it.

It also has the side-effect that all AMP pages must look fairly similar and 'on brand' for Google - which I doubt is an accident.


What's the right way then? When I worked at a media conglomerate, AMP was the only thing that reigned in and enraged the biz-dev and ad-ops departments. I'm still proud that my AMP launch partner pages are out there and serving up content really fast. I hate that it took this to provide that experience, but I prefer it to the FB and AAPL walled garden syndication approach for business and tech reasons.


Google has already indicated that they can measure page speed and use it as a ranking factor [1], i would argue that is a better approach.

We're being forced to adopt a new subset of HTML, CSS, JS etc. that has been 'approved' by Google.

Stopping the bloat of the average web page is an admirable goal, but creating proprietary standards and penalizing those who don't adopt them is at odds with the fundamental ethos of the open-web.

I dislike walled gardens such as Facebook too, but I view AMP in much the same way. If a content creator wishes to host their content on their own server, with their own design, their audience is becoming more and more restricted - whether it is by Google promoting their competitor's AMP pages above regular listings, or because many people only view content behind the walls of Facebook etc.

Regardless of how fast a page is, content that conforms to Google's new 'standards' will be shown above regular search results. The article sites The Guardian as an example of this, where the non-AMP page is actually quicker, but appears below AMP results.

[1] https://searchengineland.com/google-now-counts-site-speed-as...


The right way: influencing ranking by load times for some exemplar (and easily replicable) device and inter-actability events.

That way, sites like HN are boosted to the top, while sites which take 10 seconds for their JS frameworks and ads to load before showing text on the screen are penalized.


If a site gets 100m unique in a month they will be at the very top. They can then choose to provide a fast site, or slap on a bunch of analytics, tracking, and 3rd party bloat that provides business intelligence and millions in revenue - while staying ranked at the top.

They get to have their cake and eat it too, and there was no incentive (before AMP) to reign that in.


That's the thing about parameters - they can be tuned. The factor for page speed could have been tuned to matter as much, if not more than their unique views, trashing their ranking the moment they started adding bloat.

Google appears to have decided not to, in an apparent effort to boost their ecosystem, at the cost of the open web.


Page load speeds are a ranking factor.


Why add a special ranking for amp pages, if page speed is already a major factor?

It would seem like the reality is that page speed is not an important factor, and that re-tuning that factor would have been a better solution if Google's primary concern was for the health of the open web; not just Google's ecosystem.


>Why add a special ranking for amp pages, if page speed is already a major factor?

I touched on this confusion elsewhere in this thread, but AMP is actually not a ranking factor. The carousel is a vertical which has been integrated into the page.

However, I do agree with you. It's confusing to end-users when it's described as a non-ranking factor because it still appears on the search page. It just doesn't influence organic search.

I would also like to see page speed become even more important, as performance is very important to user satisfaction. I spend a lot of time trying to minimize bits wherever possible.

It's not just pure loading times either, but perceived speed too. Small effects like animations can make a page feel faster, even if it's technically slower.


Amp results being "in a separate vertical" is a distinction without a difference. You do a search, and the amp sites show up at the top of the results page. They are, quite literally, at the top of the search results.


I know, but this is a difference in how normal people and search people talk about SERPs. "Ranking factors" almost always refer to organic search. That's part of where this friction has come from.

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see the carousel disappear once Google deems that AMP has become self-sustaining. I think they're using it as motivation to get publishers on board, and then they'll fall back to regular organic ranking afterwards (to which AMP pages will still benefit).

But in the mean time it's causing a lot of consternation.


Mind you, it's at the top, which I think matters regardless of whether it's technically in the search results. It's an implicit "use AMP and we'll show you first" statement.


Why is it Google's job to make your site fast?

Google is overstepping their bounds by reducing standards to make their search better ultimately. Very similar to Microsoft in their IE4 overstepping days, led to years of stagnation and problems. Google is actively picking winners and losers based on whether they bend to how Google wants you to make your sites, a bigger encroachment than Microsoft ever made.

Businesses don't take on products unless it has a revenue impact to them or control impact.

- Do you think AMP is purely just to improve speeds or to get a further grip on content?

- Do you believe the business reasons are just to make sites fast?

How much is Google costing content creation businesses to implement ANOTHER standard? My guess is Google is going to force AMP into HTML6 or into standard bodies as well like they did with HTTP/2 and how they are now using Chrome like Microsoft used IE to kill common standards and make up their own using their power to force people to use it.

AMP is reminiscent of AOL's markup sandbox / terrible browser and Facebook's early specialized markup FBML, both maintained some control but eventually were long drawn out losses. How long until Google starts recompressing images and changing your content?

If AMP didn't influence search results in Google would people implement AMP? No as it costs money to change and add new per company standards. AMP is another smell that Google is going too far in control.

AMP does make sites faster, but good content sites already know how to do that and they should win in the open market not having to attach on to Google specific (sorry I mean "community" wink) standards.

Google regularly now kills common internet standards, offers an alternative that is only their standard, very late 90s Microsoft of them. I love Google but AMP is the first thing that really bothers me because you have to do it now to compete, not because it is necessarily better.


Great article, I despise AMP and Google using its monopoly to peddle these lies, and using this position to embrace and extend open web standards. We have seen this pattern from a monopoly before and they are currently being taken to task for this behaviour in the EU. I’m still a bit amazed that the devs who work on this don’t understand what they are doing is squarely on the side of evil but I guess it’s a pay check.

A few other things AMP lies about:

* Wastes bandwidth downloading content in the background

* Wastes battery rendering content in the background

* Downloads Google links you haven’t given permission you want to see

* You can’t even opt out

* Breaks the web url extending it for Google’s own purposes

* Copying URLs to send to friends or post online no longer works correctly

* Breaks the understanding that the domain you are on is the authority for it’s own content

* Traps publishers further inside Google’s web, not the open web.


> Wastes bandwidth downloading content in the background. Wastes battery rendering content in the background.

That’s Google Search, not AMP. How much bandwidth does Search use? Is it big enough to be a problem for some users?

> Downloads Google links you haven’t given permission you want to see.

Google Search can load assets from its own domain, like any other website. The user can use browser extensions to block certain requests.

> You can’t even opt out.

You mean you can’t opt out of seeing AMP results on Google Search? Well, yes, for obvious reasons. AMP is Google’s product. It would make little sense for them to add such an option.

> Breaks the web url extending it for Google’s own purposes. Breaks the understanding that the domain you are on is the authority for it’s own content.

Yes, it does.

> Copying URLs to send to friends or post online no longer works correctly.

It works in iOS Safari and Firefox for Android (and probably other browsers as well), which use the canonical URL when the user shares the page. There is also a Share button in the header of the AMP page.

> Traps publishers further inside Google’s web, not the open web.

You can say that Google traps publishers, but not that AMP is not the open web. Google AMP Cache is a website on the (open) web.


> That’s Google Search, not AMP.

That's AMP. AMP prefetches content from AMP sites which must be hosted on google.com.

The AMP team, when asked about hosting AMP content outside google.com, mention they can't prefetch from other domains with current tech as a blocker for this.


That’s Google AMP Cache, to be specific, which is used by Google Search. I was pointing out that the (alleged) extra bandwidth and battery use happens then the user visits Google’s website.

I’d limit the term AMP to the library and framework for creating AMP pages.


What term would you give for how Google Search treats AMP pages from regular HTML pages?


That's Google's implementation of the AMP Cache. It acts as a CDN for pages that implement the AMP standard.

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


OK, why does Google put AMP pages on Google's implementation of the AMP cache above the carousel in mobile, or add the AMP icon to search results that are AMP pages? If AMP pages are faster than regular HTML pages, then Google Search's ranking algorithm would rank higher these faster pages organically.


The biggest issue is that if search results were actually ranked by speed, sites would already become 100x faster without any of this AMP nonsense.


This seems to be a common misunderstanding, but page speed is already a search ranking factor.

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-i...


How fast do you have to be to get into the AMP carousel?


It's nowhere near significant enough to matter, unlike AMP which guarantees higher placement.


My guess would be that it's done to promote AMP, and to encourage publishers to make use of it.

I doubt it'll be integrated as a vertical forever, but I understand the complaints against them doing so.


> You can say that Google traps publishers, but not that AMP is not the open web. Google AMP Cache is a website on the (open) web.

This doesn't make any sense. Why would a google trap be "the open web"? Google & Google Cache & Google Search isn't open web. It is deductive that google doesn't show you the best resources available on the web but the ones that are of their interest.


When I think “not the open web,” I think native apps (Android, iOS, etc.), I think internet censorship (a country blocking an entire website), I think fast lanes, zero-rating, and other ways ISPs are undermining net neutrality.

AMP is neither of those things. It’s a library and framework for creating web pages which are then hosted on the web, openly.


> AMP is neither of those things. It’s a library and framework for creating web pages which are then hosted on the web, openly.

In practice it's a framework for hosting web pages on Google's domain. I haven't seen any amp sites outside of the google.com domain. To call google.com "the open web" is quite a stretch. I can't control anything about google.com, and I'm bound to Google's policies and practices when hosting content there. How is this open in any meaningful sense?


> In practice it's a framework for hosting web pages on Google's domain. I haven't seen any amp sites outside of the google.com domain.

Google isn't the only one that operates an AMP cache (IIRC, Microsoft, Twitter, and a couple others do), but if you get to an AMP page from Google results you'll get the version from Google’s cache.

The actual authoritative source is hosted wherever the publisher chooses, and any cache just caches that.


The AMP pages that are hosted on Google’s domain, are also hosted on the publisher’s own domain. In fact, that’s a requirement, since what Google hosts is an “AMP Cache”—it copies the AMP pages from the publisher’s websites.


Which hosting providers would qualify as open then? You are bound by the policies and practices of the owner anywhere you host your content.


Generally, you can switch hosting providers. When there's only one AMP host, you're stuck with them forever.


Well yeah, if you create your own definitions of things it's not surprising that Amp doesn't meet them.

When I think of "not the open web", I think of walled gardens like Facebook, Apple, and Amp.


You lost me - a walled garden has to have a "wall" by definition. What's the wall on AMP?


How do you host an AMP page on your own site?


An AMP page is just HTML and CSS, so you host it like any other web page.


What’s the benefit of creating an “AMP page” instead of just creating a non bloated HTML page?


AMP is an explicit subset of HTML, CSS and JavaScript aimed at reducing bloat. Of course you could just do this yourself is you think you know a better subset.


What's the modern state of web development come to that people need something like AMP to guide then into creating fast loading web pages?


Identifying an explicit subset of an expressive language that has performance/analysis properties you desire is an absolutely fine thing to do. In fact it's intelligent. Are you implying it's bad in some way?


The site we are on right now doesn't use AMP and doesn't seem to have any problems with performance....


Okay, but identifying an explicit subset of a language is a totally neutral technical decision and is very often a good idea.


You are confusing AMP pages with AMP Cache.


[flagged]


Even as a hypothetical, this sidles up to an accusation of shillage, which the guidelines as us not to do because it's not substantive.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I’m just an independent writer. I know a bit about AMP, so I thought I’d clarify some things and share the information that I have.


All of this is implicitly true for native apps as well. Google is in open war with Apple to keep users in the browser.


I’d argue google is at war with Facebook and other app developers more so than Apple. Facebook mobile has become a “gateway” to the internet. Most links I click on my newsfeed are webpages opened in the Facebook browser.


[flagged]


It's a serious violation of HN's civility rule to haul someone's personal details into a thread as ammunition against them. Please don't do this again.


I doubt that is relevant (and you make a very wide and sorta non-specific insinuation).

You can use/integrate paywalls etc. with AMP.


I honestly love amp pages. They load in rural areas unlike other bloated pages.

When you've got good service they load quick without annoying popups / ads.

If people hate amp, maybe it’s time to adjust the web standards to enable amp experience with the html6 web.

(Disclaimer, I do work at Google)


I like fast pages too, like HN. No AMP necessary.

Make site load speed a significant factor in search results ranking and the entire web would get faster without the duplicate work of maintaining AMP pages.

Also let's not forget that Google's Doubleclick (the most popular adserver) is the biggest and slowest component of most pages on the internet.


The original Doubleclick (pre-purchase) is what made me get Adblock initially in the first place.

If some of you remember it, it was just another level of awful compared to regular ads and even pop-ups.


> If people hate amp, maybe it’s time to adjust the web standards to enable amp experience with the html6 web.

AMP is build on top of the web standards. It does nothing technical a normal webpage can't do. It's almost purely a political thing: It helps push these technologies by framing it as this cool and important new thing from Google (which many responsible for websites feel like they have to follow for SEO etc) instead of simply good engineering, which is a boring thing that nobody cares about if marketing wants to add another set of javascript to a site. In turn, it kind of punishes websites that already are efficient when they do not use AMP to achieve that.


> If people hate amp, maybe it’s time to adjust the web standards to enable amp experience with the html6 web.

What does that mean exactly?


I think it means a future revision of the web could explicitly identify a subset like AMP, to encourage web developers to target it without Google being involved.

One advantage of a setup like this would be the possibility to instruct your browser to reject any non-AMP pages (or make them click to play, or otherwise indicate them), if you were on rural internet and didn't even want to bother loading a slow page.


Web 4.0


Is that supposed to be enlightening / a thing, or is this another buzzword to mix in with HTML6 (which I've never heard of either)?


It's supposed to be nonsense.


Just yesterday an HNer was saying they are in Puerto Rico and the vast majority of pages won't load due to bandwidth restrictions - except for HN and one other site I'm forgetting. I would bet you AMP pages would load fine for them. HN loves to hate on page bloat and AMP, confusingly.

I have noticed HNers conflate AMP the standard and Google Search's caching behaviour and/or ranking of AMP pages. I love the former, and not the latter. They really ought to make it possible for mobile search users to opt-out of getting AMP results.


> HN loves to hate on page bloat and AMP, confusingly.

I'm not one to write much about AMP, but I don't see why simultaneously disliking page bloat and AMP is confusing. I simultaneously dislike (or like) many pairs of things that are apparently at odds with one another.

The charitable reading of those of us who dislike AMP and page bloat simultaneously is that we want developers (and, importantly, the people who give direction to those developers) to economize on their own. Stop adding every hip third-party script, social sharing widget, tracking library, and framework to your otherwise simple webapp. It's quite easy to trim the fat from a webapp; you just need the organizational conviction to do so.

AMP is a trojan horse, in more ways than one. One good: It uses a compelling marketing message to deliver much-needed trimming. But two things are obvious to most developers: (a) it's not necessary to adopt AMP to make your app trim and (b) AMP comes with a lot of baggage. So the message from HN is: there are better options, and they're not even technically difficult.


How is it confusing?

I hate page bloat because it's slow.

I hate AMP as it's an obvious, extremely damaging, land grab.


I went on to differentiate between AMP the standard and Google's search result and serving from Google's cache (the "land grab" aspect). Dismissing both is throwing the baby out with the bathwater IMO - I'll get behind anyone who's encouraging trim pages - such as adhering to the AMP standard.


I haven't seen anybody hating on making pages "adhere to the AMP standard." When people express loathing of AMP, we're objecting to exactly what this article describes: an expansive and dishonest land grab by Google.

It is reasonable and correct to hate both web page bloat and Google's so-called "solution" that breaks the web.


[flagged]


If you continue to violate the HN guidelines we are going to ban you. Please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and clean up your act when commenting here.


If calling out attempts to use those suffering the after effects of a natural disaster as props in the defense of Google's shady attempts to lock down the web "violates HN guidelines", maybe it's your guidelines that are the problem.


To be fair, the person you were critiquing was referring to a comment by someone else who had observed the problem from Puerto Rico. Bigger picture implications aside, do we have any reason to believe AMP wouldn’t work as a CDN for folks in such situations?


Pages load fast without bloat in iOS thanks to both the reader view and iOS's built in support of content blockers. What are the chances that Google will allow for third party content blockers and a reader view in Chrome that blocks all ads including theirs in Android?

And the pages aren't hosted by Google.


On Android I love using Firefox Focus, which blocks ads and analytics trackers. It's my default browser, although I still use Chrome when I want the logged-in experience.

What are the chances that Apple would allow me to change the default browser on iOS?


That’s not a complete solution. Any app with a built in web view will still use Chrome and still not support ad blocking. An app that uses the Safari View Controller as a built in web view (like my RSS reader and all of the built in apps), will still support content blockers and use the same set of cookies as the main browser. The apps do not have access to your web session like they do in a traditional web view.


Incidentally, can you recommend a good iOS content blocker? I never looked into them beyond a week or so after the feature first launched, and I wasn't impressed by their effectiveness early on.


I'm using 1Blocker. (not an affiliate link)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1blocker/id1025729002?mt=8


Awesome, I’ll check it out.


I'm not sure what "enable amp experience with the html6 web" means, but surely you like non-amp pages too, particularly the ones well designed and lightweight code.

I'm just hearing about amp tonight and trying to understand what it is. Why are people saying it ruins the URL? Does it change the website address to a google URL? Why are people criticising it saying "hosted not cached"?

I gather the caching works similar to Akamai, with a configurable TTL on file types for the origin server?


If you do a search on Google, and click on an AMP result you'll find yourself at a URL like: https://www.google.com/amp/wccftech.com/wikipedia-updated-it...

This is because the way Google gets those lightning-fast results for AMP pages is to rehost them onto their own server and background-load them while you're viewing the search page. It's even a reasonable position -- they want to do the background-loading safely, so having known-good content helps them.

People are calling this rehosting because, well, your content is hosted on Google's servers, in a very visible way to anyone who sees the URL. If you share it, that's the URL that goes to other people rather than the canonical one.

That said, non-Google browser makers have been doing things to mitigate this. iOS Safari notices when you're trying to share an AMP URL and figures out the canonical one for you to share instead. (I hear Firefox does this, too, on Android as well.) It's a bit silly that the major browsers are all adding in Google-AMP-specific hacks like this, though.


>It's a bit silly that the major browsers are all adding in Google-AMP-specific hacks like this, though.

Isn't copying the canonical URL the correct behavior? I've just checked and the AMP page you linked has the correct canonical tag set.


There's a debate to be had on that point, I guess.

The normal behavior of "share sends the precise page I am currently viewing" has the advantage that you know what you're sending, whereas trusting the website's rel="canonical" opens up some potential confusion. (And, I guess, sneaky attack vectors, though someone who wanted to exploit that could do so easily enough via JS redirects on non-referer visits anyway.)

The Google Amp people certainly think that's the right way to do it, as we can see here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15085159

EDIT: Actually, I'm seeing some claims that iOS Safari is just generically doing share-is-rel-canonical now. I haven't tested it personally, but...


I'd say the advantage of share buttons using the proper canonical tag is it strips away user-customizations, tracking information (utms), and other info.

So for instance if a user clicks the "comments" link on a blog post, it won't then skip the article when people view it.

Though I can also see downsides. For instance you might click on a specific version of a product on an ecommerce site. If you share it and say "I love this version!", that information could be lost in the process.


I admit, most of my hesitations are in the realm of my not trusting websites to do it properly. :D


HTTP's canonical URL field is not a Google-AMP-specific hack.


I also like the fact that I know in advance that an AMP page will be fast. Non-AMP is a mixed bag, but mostly slow and crappy.


I don't have any such issues and my phone doesn't even support 4g. A lot of the time it's still reasonable on EDGE.

And besides, I'm still for expanding 3g coverage instead of starting to experiment with / roll out 5g as they are... we don't need new tech (in this regard), we need to roll shit out and do shit properly.


Same for me, if I'm in the tube or in an area with weak coverage I only click on AMP links (and Facebook equivalent) whenever possible. That way I can search and load the result in the ~15-20 sec time window where I have wifi.

(I don't work at Google or Facebook or wherever)


Copy of my comment from another thread: You can do your part as a developer and tell managers about the dangers of AMP. It is a stupid idea technically (we have HTML, you can build a slim sites, Google can rank them higher) and stupid business wise by giving away the control, branding, options.

I have convinced one project manager to not implement AMP and will continue to try in the future. Please do your part by spreading word of the dangers of GOOG and FB.


I have found some sites have made the "main" site better than AMP in terms of speed and download, but because its often the first result, sometimes you get an inferior experience. As someone who built and deployed the bbc news amp experience, i didn't really know how it was going to be used, but i would have raised serious concerns knowing what we know now.


I've been pushing back hard on adding AMP as a feature on our product and I am glad I did. We host/publish millions of articles for our clients and I just don't feel comfortable enabling AMP and allowing the big boys to get away with this crap.

All large CMS players and publishing platforms should read this post.


I think a decent compromise (one I'd like to see more sites adopt) is only putting a subset of your page's content on the AMPed version, with a "Read the full article on XYZ.com" banner at the bottom. It gives you that preferred real estate while also acting as a funnel to your site.


I've seen a bunch of sites do that, and honestly I appreciate that as an end user because I want to get to the actual site, but at that point, AMP's story that it makes the web faster is actively untrue: you have to wait for the AMP page to load, scroll, and then load the normal page.


Doesn't that make it win-win? It both gives the site the advantageous position AMP offers it, while undermining AMP's entire purpose and hence discouraging support of it.


Even in that case I find it useful. You get enough context to quickly drop out if the content didn't meet your needs.

Try looking for recipes. I only click read more if the recipe met my needs. Else I swiped right to get the next matching recipe.


So, lean splash pages?

I mean, you can already see many publishers (Reddit, ebay, some newspapers like USA Today) doing it. Already gaming AMP.

Technically speaking then, AMP isn't accomplishing a whole hell of a lot, and risks being relegated to "splash page technology", if that becomes a trend.

I'm curious how long it'll take for spammers to start inundating AMP, personally.


It's meaning is: all your sites, sites, sites, sites, all your sites, are belong to us


Google promised a way to make your content more powerful, but it turned out to be just an easy way to control it themselves...

It's like they took on the role of Sauron almost immediately after giving up their "don't be evil" slogan.


Same link, submitted yesterday:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15581276

I don't get HN dedup anymore.


articles that get no real traction are not counted for dedup purposes. Its annoying when you submit them, but then this comment topic wouldnt have occured.


IMO there should be a window, say a year. That way evergreen topics can be rediscussed over and over. But the way it currently works fragments the comments over multiple links submitted on the same week. This one, for instance, is lost in the ether https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=ocdtrekkie

Why not aggregate on the same thread?


It's a shame there's so much controversy around AMP. It's not a simple task to set up a performant website. Ignoring the search result preference and caching, but AMP is an interesting attempt to tame website development so your pages load quickly. People keep commenting you can make a website fast without AMP, but this is difficult when you're working in big teams and with management that don't put priority on performance.


If Google just flat-out said they would penalize sites in rankings for poor performance, then management would very much prioritize it. Same thing happened with responsive design a year or two ago and now https this year -- my clients never cared about doing either of these when presented with the choice (since it would cost more money), but the second they received and email from Google about it affecting their search rankings (or showing the site as "insecure" in chrome, as per the recent push for https), they were asking us to do this for them.


I'm curious about this as well. How easy would it be to game performance measurements? For example, when you can lazily load content it becomes much more difficult to measure. The advantage of the AMP restrictions for them is that they know for sure certain performance metrics will be met but this is much more difficult for arbitrary webpages.


Run a WebPageTest on an AMP link and tell me it fits within the 1 second promise AMP keeps making.

Without prefetch, on a lot of the pages I've cross-checked manually, it doesn't. So there's already gaming from the other side of the aisle in a sense.


That's a good point. I think google is able to measure this to some extent, but yeah I guess anything could be gamed.


> It's not a simple task to set up a performant website.

On the contrary, I feel like it takes more planning to build something that's slow than building something fast. Only once you've made elaborate designs and hired people who are used to including the six megabytes of javascript libraries they've accumulated over the years, it gets tricky.

In the past I've been happily surprised when I wanted to look something up on my own blog over some slow, public WiFi, and it loads super fast compared to everything else. (I'm not the only one, of course, but most small websites don't have a huge team behind it and are not very popular.) It's just because it's a personal thing which I've kept simple and built from scratch.


People keep commenting you can make a website fast without AMP

You can! But so few people actually do. Kind of like abstinence-only birth control.


Worse still, if you mention any of these issues on AMPs GitHub page, they will be closed with “nothing to do with AMP, it’s how Google chose to implement it, ask Google”


Do you have any concrete examples of this? Would like to see the actual issues and wording from the AMP team on it. Not that I don't believe you, just want to read it for myself.


The biggest discussion AFAIR is https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/issues/6210

“This is a Google Search issue, not AMP issue”


That is hilarious!


Hmm, while some of the critic i see here may be valid and justified, i like the enforcing of this strict rule set...

i am senior frontend-dev and imho we wouldn't need AMP if in 99% of the cases devs, or better their customers would give a damn about doing their job right ( most of the time they just don't know better, because they are just beginners and never learned much about 'advanced' html/css - i haven't seen to much senior devs lowering themself to do html/css work and/or are knowleadgable in this areas ).

Most of AMPs advantages regarding FOUC, Jumping-Content and Performance is to enforcing good HTML/CSS practices. Again citing guardian as example... So at least know i have a way to simple enforce a minimum best practice for mobile pages...

Whenever i had to sign off a responsive/adaptive mobile page loading 'insane' amounts of unused styles and/or javascript i wanted to hit something with a hammer... I am for giving it some time and see how it develops..


For a bit deeper understanding of AMP pages and how Google makes all of this work – check out this talk from Segment co-founder Calvin French-Owen https://www.heavybit.com/library/blog/get-ampd-an-introducti...


Let all the hyper monetized, ad-funded, people stalking, profile building content head to amp, google and facebook ecosystems.

The more egregious Google's creepy behavior becomes the more urgent the solution becomes. This is an opportunity to find a solution.


I just googled “house of cards cancelled” in Firefox on my iPhone and every result for a several screens worth of scrolling are AMP. I can’t find a single result that isn’t AMP.


I dislike AMP too, despite being an author of an AMP library for node (https://www.npmjs.com/package/amps-in-the-trunk), but:

> AMP is, I think, best described as nominally open-source.

That's not how open source works. Projects are either under an OSD license or not. See https://github.com/ampproject for the licenses involved.

The article's premise still stands, but the author probably meant 'nominally open standard' or just 'nominally open', both of which are accurate.


lol. This doesn't even need a discussion. If you have a website hooking nearly all over websites without asking the users consent and without giving the user a recognizable way to opt out, then of course it is toxic. It is toxic by nature.


> AMP pages don’t receive preferential treatment in search results.

Think it’s true. At the beginning AMP pages got a huge rank bonus. Now, it’s much less. I feel Google sees AMP just for news pages. Guess the project got a lot resistance internally which is understandable: With the hundreds custom AMP components they are actually rebuilding the web.


> At the beginning AMP pages got a huge rank bonus.

That they ever got such a thing is ridiculous to begin with. One of Google's principles is that they're neutral, besides clearly labeled paid-for ads which have always been the business model. I don't think they succeed 100% in setting aside unconscious biases that the programmers must have that build and tweak/configure the thing, but I believe that it is one of the basic ideas. If you say that was not the case, and is "much less" not the case now, then saying it's not biased is just weird.


if they are "clearly labeled" now, what terms do you use to describe what he ad labels were in the past?

http://www.benedelman.org/adlabeling/google-colors-oct2014.h...


Good point, I didn't know that. I've not been on the internet much before 2006 or so, and have been using ad blockers for as long as I can remember. Just that in my mind, they're currently clearly labeled. I never saw the chart in the post you linked, that's very interesting. Thanks for linking!


Did you read the article? The whole point is that amp pages are _above_ the search results, which is massive preferential treatment in its own way.


Haven’t news been always above the search results? And only AMP news pages are currently above the search results. Non-news AMP pages have to rank like non-AMP pages.

I don’t like the entire AMP thing either but a bit more differentiation would be helpful here.


> 1. AMP is a community project, not a Google project.

It’s a community project and a Google project.

> 2. AMP pages don’t receive preferential treatment in search results.

They do due to the AMP carousel at the top, but that’s it. AMP pages don’t receive bonus points in the search ranking for being AMP.

> 3. AMP pages are hosted on your own domain.

They are, but they’re also hosted on Google AMP Cache.


> They do due to the AMP carousel at the top, but that’s it. AMP pages don’t receive bonus points in the search ranking for being AMP

Nobody ever gave a shit whether they were the top search result. They care about being at the top of the page and getting more clicks. The usage of the term "search ranking" presumes that the top search result is at the top of the page.

> They are, but they’re also hosted on Google AMP Cache.

When I go to one of these pages, my URL says "Google.com" is the domain I'm at.

Just to check: how long have you worked at Google?


> When I go to one of these pages, my URL says "Google.com" is the domain I'm at.

Maybe I wasn’t clear. I was trying to say that AMP pages are hosted and can be accessed from two locations: their original website and Google AMP Cache.


>due to the AMP carousel at the top, but that’s it

Are you for real? Read your sentence aloud to yourself and realize how ridiculous it sounds.

You're basically saying: "They're just at the top of the page because they're in a specific AMP section of the page at the top of the page, but that's it. They don't get bonus points in the search ranking, which affects how high up you are in the search results, which is not on top of the page"


English isn’t my first language. I didn’t mean to trivialize the carousel by saying “that’s it.” My intention was to clarify that the carousel is the only form of preferential treatment on Search. A big one, yes, but the only one.


Search for the term: "Display Bias" in the context of Airline GDS's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_distribution_system)

```A global distribution system (GDS) is a network operated by a company that enables automated transactions between travel service providers (mainly airlines, hotels and car rental companies) and travel agencies. Travel agencies traditionally relied on GDS for services, products & rates in order to provision travel-related services to the end consumers. A GDS can link services, rates and bookings consolidating products and services across all three travel sectors: i.e., airline reservations, hotel reservations, car rentals.```

https://www.tnooz.com/article/american-airlines-sues-sabre-o...

http://fortune.com/2016/12/21/american-airlines-15-million-a...

```The case concerned fees that Sabre and other travel reservation systems collect from airlines to display flights for booking.

At trial, Chuck Diamond, a lawyer for American Airlines, contended that Sabre used its power in the industry to “bully” airlines into paying unfair fees and signing unfair contracts that suppress competition and maintain its position.

The lawsuit claimed that provisions of a 2011 contract between US Airways and Sabre, including those governing what fares the airline makes available to a computerized network by Sabre used by travel agents, harmed competition.

The airline also contended that Sabre conspired with its competitors to not compete with each other for airline content like flight and fare information at the expense of consumers and innovation.```

...it sounds an awful lot _EXACTLY_ like this topic of discussion.

s/gds/search-engine/g

s/travel service providers/information service providers/g


You're just restating what TFA says. Those nuances are important, as TFA points out. In partcular:

>They do due to the AMP carousel at the top, but that’s it.

Yeah I guess that's "it". But when the entire point of search engine optimization is to appear as high as possible in the results that's a pretty massive "it".

>They are, but they’re also hosted on Google AMP Cache.

So Google AMP Cache is actually Google AMP Host?


> Yeah I guess that's "it". But when the entire point of search engine optimization is to appear as high as possible in the results that's a pretty massive "it".

I agree, it’s a massive “it.” Poor choice of words from my part.

> So Google AMP Cache is actually Google AMP Host?

Yes, since the cached pages are accessible via URL.


> They do due to the AMP carousel at the top, but that’s it. AMP pages don’t receive bonus points for being AMP.

is just rewording this sentence from this article:

> the Google Search team were at pains to repeat over and over that AMP pages wouldn’t get any preferential treatment in search results …but they appear in a carousel above the search results.


They're not at the top of the search results, they're above them, is weaselly in the extreme. "Do know evil"


It’s not because I’m saying they do, and Search team is saying they don’t ;)


Read the full quote in the message you're replying to: the article author makes the same point.


> They do due to the AMP carousel at the top, but that’s it.

They also get the AMP icon which users are starting to equate with faster loading times. Another form of preferential treatment.


That's not preferential. Users equate it because they've observed it. Speaking strictly as a consumer of the web, I have a strong preference for AMP for a few reasons. It's fast. The page doesn't jump around and lag. There are no popups. It's just a good experience. I know it's possible to have a good experience without AMP technically, but very few sites seem to be doing that.


True. I didn’t think of that.


AMP tends to rile up the hornet's nest on here, and is hardly given a fair or intellectually honest discussion. Case in point are the emotional replies you've gotten.

For all of the talk about the carousel, it only appears for trending news type events. This is wholly irrelevant to the overwhelming majority of searches, and if anything is purely to keep Google's search a choice for news (where there are a lot of options).

Talking about AMP on HN is a bit like talking about Microsoft on Slashdot in the 90s. It isn't an illuminating or rational discussion.


> it only appears for trending news type events.

and you think this is a fixed target? you have full trust in a company that basically lies saying that it doesn't have an impact in search results?

i think it is important to keep in mind that google is just a group of people, and the people there right now may be truly well-meaning. but these guys are _already_ lying - do you trust that future google won't turn the knobs after they have basically tricked much of the web to comply?


you have full trust in a company

This is a strawman. AMP requires zero trust in Google. That has nothing to do with the argument.

Right now I am not particularly concerned by AMP. I think it's a benefit for a large class of users, and avoids the web tragedy of the commons. It's also open to use by any other party (Bing, for instance, has started processing and caching AMP). I would prefer a fully open, cross-industry "lite web" filling the same need, but everyone seems too focused on FUD about Google than rationally discussing the topic.


I think Google should be allowed to do whatever they want, as long as they don’t lie to their visitors and pretend they are a search engine, which is what they’re currently doing.

Perhaps this is the solution; require Google to stop calling itself a search engine.


And why do you think that? I could understand why you'd want to be thinking that, if you own lots of Google stocks, but either way this does not provide any resolution to anything.

Whether you call it a search engine or a curated content platform, users aren't going to suddenly stop using it now.


How is it not a search engine? Opinions about what constitute proper search results has always been at the core of Google’s algorithm from the very beginning.


of course google should be allowed to do whatever they want -- they are a private company in a (currently) unregulated industry. users, developers and publishers should also be allowed to do whatever they want. the author of the article is recommending that others realize what google is actually doing with AMP and to stay away from the technology (despite is positive sides).


What else are people going to use, really?




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