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One Year Without AMP (alexkras.com)
124 points by ingve 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 58 comments



I block AMP and its related domains in my aggressive blocking hosts list[1]. I've found many AMP related sites are purely for marketing, or 'news' articles that are thinly veiled ads. I haven't missed it at all. I also don't use Google, so perhaps that it part of it, but I applaud your decision to remove AMP. The web isn't meant to be centralized in this way.

[1] https://github.com/lightswitch05/hosts/blob/master/tracking-...


I block AMP pages too. Unfortunately, Google artificially slows down AMP pages so that they literally take 8 seconds to load if you block the AMP JavaScript. (Check the inline CSS.)


Are you sure that isn't just a timeout function in case AMP fails to load?

edit: Dug up the code.

    <style>
        body {animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both}
        @keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden} to{visibility:visible}}
    </style>
    <noscript>
        <style>
            body {animation:none}
        </style>
    </noscript>
The timeout function is turned off if JS isn't available, so JS being disabled shouldn't be a problem.

I'm guessing this is actually to delay page paint so it doesn't display when half-loaded.


If they don't allow you to fix this fallback, it's a punishment


In fairness, blocking the external half of the code while not blocking the inline part of the code is on you. You could just as easily block/disable the <style> tag that adds this in addition to the AMP JS.


Blocking inline CSS is more difficult than blocking external resources.


parent said

> block the AMP JavaScript

not,

> JS being disabled


Then the noscript tag wouldn't fire here. But that's just shooting yourself in the foot. A page won't function with half its code running.


I think you might have missed the point of my comment. If you block AMP scripts, you will definitely encounter broken sites. The point I was trying to make are that those broken sites are mostly junk anyways. Overloaded with ads, tracking, and other manipulative content geared at turning me into the product. I haven't missed those sites any. However, I recognize that I'm not the average user, which is why these blocks are in my aggressive list. I initially put the blocks into my regular block list which is then consumed by Steven Black's hosts [1]. Very quickly a ticket was opened to whitelist AMP [2]. Funny enough, the user requesting that AMP be white listed posted screen shots of broken advertisements disguised as 'news' articles. To make everyone happy I moved it to my aggressive list which isn't included in Steven's project.

Anyways, long story short, I don't like AMP and don't mind the occasional broken site. But it's definitely not for everyone.

[1] https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts

[2] https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts/issues/657


AMP is shooting users in the foot. They are content-based pages with no reason for making users wait for 8 seconds if JS isn't loaded. See also:

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Glossary/Graceful_d...


@SquareWheel - there is no reply link on your comment, so I'm replying here. I read your comment and I understand it.

There is no reason to load any JavaScript on a page that only contains some text and images. If the goal is to speed up loading, then blocking unnecessary JS shouldn't break the page. It's clear that page speed is not Google's primary goal with AMP.


Clicking the permalink often brings up reply for lower nested comments.

>There is no reason to load any JavaScript on a page that only contains some text and images.

While I've not read through all of Amp's JS to know what it's for, I will say I've used JS to specifically speed up static pages before.

One example is the Filament Group's loadCSS script[0]. This allows for cross-platform asynchronous CSS loading.

Font loading is also another tricky subject. Linking non-blocking font assets while minimizing FOIT and FOUT is still not a solved problem. Smashing Magazine just had a 50 minute video presentation[1] on this problem. JS loaders are a common approach.

So I disagree with you that page speed is not the primary goal here, simply because I've run into these same kinds of problems myself and can relate. Google also has the advantage that their JS will almost always be cached by end-users.

[0] https://github.com/filamentgroup/loadCSS

[1] https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/07/smashingconf-videos...


> So I disagree with you that page speed is not the primary goal here

I think you're missing the bigger picture behind it. Google is making a power grab to appify the WWW on their own domain, and they are coercing publishers to implement it by giving lower search engine rankings to sites that don't go along with the scheme. It's an abuse of their position. It goes against the fundamental nature of the WWW and the basic ideas of decentralized technology.


Sorry, but that's a Gish Gallop argument. It's completely unrelated to what we've been discussing, and frankly those points have been argued over so many times already I see no benefit in repeating the exercise.


>They are content-based pages with no reason for making users wait for 8 seconds if JS isn't loaded.

I think you should read my parent comment a little bit closer.


With adblock, most pages are missing most of their JavaScript.


The JavaScript should create the fade style, then it will only happen if js is running.


I'm pretty sure the JS actually stops the fade. The inline CSS will be executed very early on in the page, before any assets are loaded.

Though it seems to me if the page is fast enough anyway (as amp pages claim to be), then this trick shouldn't be necessary anyway.


Not sure why you are being down voted. You aren't wrong.


Please read the site guidelines, which ask you not to post comments about voting on comments.

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


Here's a Firebase talk where the dev accidentally admits Google gives preferential ranking to AMP pages and then he immediately gets cut off:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puUqJTJVz5A&feature=youtu.be...


Uh-oh, don't let the EUC know about this.

Seriously, what do people expect when they go searching on the world's largest ad network? Google would never send them to the pages with the most ads on it, would they? It's time for a distributed, oblique search index if DDG doesn't serve the needs.


While I like the idea of a distributed search engine, I wonder how would it work with mobile devices.

With a desktop, and even laptop when plugged in, you have relatively easy time to run something like a search node of such a network that scans spiders some pages in the background. On a mobile phone, it's not really possible.


Without time to hunt down the articles, I was fairly sure Google has been publicizing that they were going to give AMP priority for a long time now, no?


Absolutely, everyone knows that AMP pages are ranking higher in Google and are rewarded. We are getting requests for it at my job for that very reason. We even have contacts at Google that will schedule AMP calls with you and build the pages for you. It's no secret. I unfortunately have to do it for our customers, but privately I view AMP as a Google controlled cancer on the web.


Not that I've seen. Everything I've seen from Google says that AMP has no bearing on rankings. If there's stuff published by Google, or quotes directly from Google people working on AMP, that say differently, I'd love to see it.

See:

- https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/824185977098960897

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXi76HDygi8&t=11m46s

- https://youtu.be/ixPFGXYUwNM?t=19m16s


Even disconsidering organic results, only AMP pages are eligible for display in the carousels at the top of the page. The end result is the same as being upranked.


Yeah, definitely -- I acknowledge this elsewhere in the thread. There's no denying that those items have preference, but I believe they're news-only (as of now).


I thought google was pretty explicit about this when they announced AMP.


Yeah, I was gonna say. They were as upfront about it as the HTTPS ones.


I think "don't be evil" was a good slogan, because at least it tried to encourage a culture of doing the right things, even if it's difficult to define "evil".


AMP is terrible and it is ruining the web for desktop users. I frequently get linked to AMP pages while on my desktop, and have never come across one that provides a link to the non-AMP version of the page and often the URL to the non-AMP version cannot be derived from the AMP URL.

What's wrong with using CSS media queries to have a responsive design? Or if you absolutely need a separate mobile site for some reason, at least give a link back to the full desktop version of the page..

I get that AMP is supposed to help optimize page loading for mobile devices, but for most sites I don't think it is necessary to go to the extremes of AMP in 2018. Most places in the world have decent enough internet speeds and mobile data allowances that pages do not need to be super tiny all the time.


An AMP document is required to contain:

  <link rel="canonical" href="...">
pointing to the regular HTML document.


Except that doesn't put a physical link in the document. Why should I have to dig into the source code of the page just to find the link to the normal page?


Some non-mainstream browsers (ELinks at least) make <link>s visible. This is occasionally useful, but most of the time it just wastes space. :-/

You might want to use this web extension to make automatic AMP → HTML redirects:

https://github.com/da2x/amp2html

Or you could use this bookmarklet:

  javascript:window.location=document.head.querySelector('link[rel="canonical"]').href


I was at a Google sponsored hackaton focusing around page speed. They were pushing AMP. What I feel was completely missing at the time was data, testing results and case studies showing where it has improved a business ROI.

They have some published now but it’s really so high level that you can’t conclude your business will get similar results. Some measure click through rate, others conversion rate or bounce rate. It’s not like for like.

I feel like the data was deliberately vague. I work in ecommerce and need to know this improves conversion rate and average order value. That’s what drives revenue and profitability.


I doubt removing amp actually helped your search results. If there’s evidence of this out there I’d like to see it. Like you said, it’s probably the fact that you’ve written more (and maybe better) articles in the past year.


>I doubt removing amp actually helped your search results.

The author doesn't say this. In fact the author has carefully worded their conclusion so they don't say this!

From the article:

>Still, I feel very confident that disabling AMP did not have a negative impact on my search traffic.


I said that disabling amp probably didn’t have a positive impact. The writer is saying that they are confident that disabling amp did not have a negative impact. Two different statements.


This article is not scientific or conclusive and offers poor advice for people wanting to accelerate their content.

I am keenly interested in the effectiveness of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) as a content discovery, delivery and filtering system because I "feel the pain" of slow content each/every time I use a 3G (non-wifi) connection.

Yes, AMP was developed/sponsored by Google, but that does not make it "bad"... If anything it means Google knows that slow mobile pages "hurt" the web and they are trying to help "fix" the often painful waiting times for loading content on mobile.

AMP is an "open-source initiative" however to be "compliant" a page MUST include the AMP JavaScript file: https://ampbyexample.com/introduction/hello_world For people who are "privacy conscious" this is an obvious "red flag" because you are basically forced to include/load a "tracker" which means Google knows what content is being read.

For the vast majority of Publishers who already use Google Analytics including the AMP JS on the page is not a concern. (you are already sending all your usage data to Google...)

The OP concludes with: > "I would highly recommend small time bloggers and publishers like myself to avoid wasting their time on AMP."

I question the OP's suggestion to avoid AMP as for most "small time bloggers and publishers", having extra content discovery & distribution for not that much extra effort, is well worth the time.

Google Does NOT "slow down" AMP pages, much to the contrary, in our experience of Deploying AMP for several content-heavy websites Google both give better ranking and promote AMP pages in the SERPS. (Yes, this is "favouritism" for AMP content, but it's also better for the Users who searched for that content!)

Alex's relatively* "flat" traffic (see graphs in article) and the fact that he has been writing more content:

"A lot of it can be attributed to me writing additional articles in the last year"

Means that the conclusions of the article are "unscientific" at best. I would counter-argue that if he actively supported AMP his traffic would be higher. (and since his blog is ad-supported, he should re-consider...)


AMP is one of the biggest threats to the future of the WWW at the moment. It's an attempt to appify the web on Google's own domain and dictate how you monetize your site. Hand-optimized HTML pages are faster than AMP pages. Here are some links:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/19/open_source_insider...

https://80x24.net/post/the-problem-with-amp/

https://daringfireball.net/linked/2018/01/09/amp-will-still-...

https://danielmiessler.com/blog/google-amp-not-good-thing/

https://www.google.com/search?q=amp+sucks&num=100



Excessive quotes or italics detracts from the readability of your comment.

> Yes, AMP was developed/sponsored by Google, but that does not make it "bad"

Having Google shape the web is what is definitely bad.

> For the vast majority of Publishers who already use Google Analytics including the AMP JS on the page is not a concern. (you are already sending all your usage data to Google...)

Every site owner gets to decide what analytics package they use without it impeding their results in the search engines. The defaults that websites adopt should not be set in favour of one corporation. Having Google monopolise every space is bad for the web.


@pknight I agree with you 100%. No corporation should have a monopoly on any aspect of the web.

Should there be a truly corporation/platform-agnostic alternative to AMP? Yes! Definitely. Is that happening right now? Sadly not. It appears to take a "big co" to drive it forward.

I am merely offering the perspective of the publisher who wants their content to be discovered. Google is (still) the "starting point" for many people. Many people have Google as their default search engine and the ubiquity of Google Chrome on both Desktop and Mobile means that is where people enter their "thoughts" when searching for anything ... If a publisher wants their blog/news/site to be "found", AMP is a really good option because it's "supported" by Google.

Rendering AMP-compliant pages does not mean the publisher cannot have an alternative template/view that is even more "optimised" (i.e. without AMP JS) OR a view with ads from a different network or no ads at all.

I'm not saying AMP a "good" or "bad" thing, just that it's a tool at the disposal of content publishers which can get them better "discoverability" in Google. Which for most people is a major benefit.

Bottom line is: for established publishers who want their content to be "accelerated" on Mobile devices (and thus show up higher in the Google SERPs because Google openly prioritises faster pages/content) and new content producers who want to be "found", AMP is a good way for people who already use Google to discover them.

Further reading for people considering AMP: https://moz.com/blog/amp-digital-marketing-2018


It is never explained but I believe AMP here means Accelerated Mobile Pages.


Reddit uses it and it is awful, because it never remembers your choice to not use the app, and will keep asking you.


Reddit's incessant up-selling is completely unrelated to AMP; they do it on all of their pages.

And just another anecdote, but I like Reddit's use of AMP. The pages load super fast, the top comments are all accessible, and there's a big button at the bottom to load the full page if you want.


A reminder: one can go to https://old.reddit.com/r/test/ to access the old site, and https://old.reddit.com/r/test/.compact to see a mobile-friendly version.


Alternative to .compact is https://i.reddit.com/r/test


I just mean that if you dismiss it on their full page, it’s gone (for a while - not forever), but comes back with every click on their amp pages.


is it better than i.reddit.com ?


You can override things like that with an extension called Stylus. Inspect the element and then add a new CSS rule (globally, by domain, or by URL). Stylus will remember it.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/styl-us/

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stylus/clngdbkpkpe...


The site I work on had a slight bump up the first month after disabling AMP, and we've had pretty flat traffic from SEO ever since, which feeds the conspiracy theorists that "AMP helps your search positioning."


It's not a conspiracy theory, I've worked with Google engineers over the phone and email for an agency...and this is one of their pitches. They now will even help you build the AMP pages, or just build them for you.


I was on a Hangout with two product managers of AMP, and they told me exactly the opposite. This was Oct 2017. The exception is the news carousel, which appears at the top of search results and also contains only AMP. As of right now, however, it's only news content, and I don't work for a news site.


My last call was a month ago, this was for a general home page of a site. If what they told me is not true, or what they told you is not true...Google needs to get their employees on the same page. But it appears from some of our experiences that it has helped rankings, which I find annoying and a bit baffling.


Yeah. We had a google employee tell us to build AMP to rank higher.


How does traffic staying flat after disabling AMP feed a conspiracy theory? That seems like a counterpoint.

And to the various other comments, Google's position that they are very open about is that users become accustomed to AMP sites being so fast that they start to favor them, so the click through rates should rise with AMP. If true, that seems entirely fair.

AMP is fascinating to me because it's something we can't discuss with any honesty at all. Instead it's over the top rhetoric where people with their outrageously abusive and unwelcoming sites complain that AMP is unnecessary because they could, like, make their site less abusive if they wanted. Any notion that AMP doesn't solve a real problem is just a non-starter derived from fantasy.




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