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Google AMP Issue: Links to visit the site currently not working (twitter.com)
355 points by scotchio 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 239 comments

It's ironic to me that AMP is a problem we all brought upon ourselves, really. It's almost (jokingly) a Prisoner's dilemma [1]. Had no one ever opted into it, it probably would have just been swept under the rug by Google, and a win-win for us all. But since a competitor of yours (probably) opted into it to get ahead of you, you now have to opt into it also, to compete and get the same SEO "power juice" it gave them. The fact that everyone now adds the code to their site to make it work with AMP is the problem. Google gave us the rope. And then all the SEO managers/marketers/specialists hung us with it. Ha

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma


WE don't live in an ideal world and AMP is my only option of getting de-bloated webpages. I would love if managers and directors would do this themselves and AMP wouldn't be needed, but that's just not the case.

I have to choose between downloading some text and images to read an article or load 5MB JavaScript SinglePageApp with tracking, ads, auto playing video's...

I know in an ideal world AMP would be useless, but until we reach that world I'm going to prefer AMP links over normal ones.

Why is it your only option? AMP sucks, and I don't see why any user would feel like they need it.

AMP is about getting into the carousel search results, and if AMP wasn't the only way to do that, we wouldn't feel forced to use it.

To just download text and images I use www.outline.com, but there are lots of ways to accomplish this.

I think the issue is so many sites load too much crap into their pages, for what should be relatively simple articles. The websites could have just written really simple/fast pages... but they didn't. AMP forced the issue.

Of course, google could have just favored really small/fast site that worked well on mobile... but this way they get the extra lock in.

How is using an external service to debloat pages okay but AMP isn't? Feels ass-backwards to me.

Maybe because that's not the only thing it does? It is what Google likes to pretend that AMP is all about, but you're also handing over the control of your traffic directly to Google, and being awarded with the SEO boost.

That's significantly different than debloating your website and remaining in control of the traffic, but you don't receive the SEO boost as a consequence. Even if you make your website faster than it would be if you were using AMP (which is not that difficult to achieve), you're still being punished for not giving control to Google.

If you put your page on the web it is going to get cached. The http depends on this. You are not giving up control of your traffic. You never had it in the first place.

But giving the control of the traffic to some third party website is okay? Not really. Especially not really with signed exchanges.

It doesn’t matter if it’s okay. I just brought it up because some guy was making the silly claim that his only option was to bow to standards set by google.

I don’t think google should be in charge of that, especially if they use search results as a way to force adoption.

because using that service is entirely optional.

Countless posts have been made by site operators who needed to adopt AMP to remain competitive in google search results.

> AMP is my only option of getting de-bloated webpages

It isn't, though. Plenty of sites out there are de-bloated, and things like Reader Mode in browsers makes the rest work just fine.

Is this really true - every time I switch to non AMP / non Adblock my eyes bleed. User numbers for AMP and Adblock say at least something about the “fact” that sites are debloated.

User numbers for AMP only say something about Google placing AMP pages at the top of their search result pages. Few people are actively choosing or seeking out AMP.

Every time I go to an AMP page my eyes bleed. I switched to Firefox just to avoid ending up at ugly and broken AMP pages.

NoScript debloats sites very effectively. It's like the entire web is running on AMP.

Unfortunately site owners haven't debloated without AMP. "Reader Mode" is much less perfect than a proper AMP page.

I understand your point, but I guess I just wish it wasn't an "either or" world, so we both could enjoy the web how we would respectively like. Why won't Google let us have both? Right now, I don't believe there is a way to disable AMP (unless you use like a Firefox mobile extension for that specific use case). That's what bothers me the most, personally. Google shoving it down our throats, and force feeding us AMP is so user hostile. Let the user decide, even if it was hidden under a super obscure setting in something like chrome://flags/, that'd be better. It's a simple win-win for everyone.

I agree with you. I would prefer a world where AMP isn't needed and websites don't ad 4MB of bloat to their sites.

But, we don't live in that world I'm afraid. And for many news websites I don't want to even begin downloading the auto-playing video on their page. So AMP is for many the easiest choice.

AMP is not needed to promote less bloated websites in search results. Google could easily boost the ranking of lightweight websites without AMP.

AMP is an obvious abuse of a dominant market position and Google will come to regret it.

I wish they would... boost websites with < 1mb of html+css+js payload (exclude images). Extra points for optimized images for mobile by default, with upsizing for high density or larger displays.

Google could very well have given huge boosts to small/fast websites, and then the sites would have had to figure it out wrt advertising and bloat. It would have been a much better result.

They could, but then we'd see a lot of cheaters even there, AMP is very locked down. I don't like the market position abuse either, but the other parties are far from guilt free.

Of course SEO will never end. But if the question is how to improve the open web, then turning the open web into a Google property is not an answer.

Signed exchanges are a thing, I don't see how Google intervenes there more than just providing the AMP standard.

Again, I'm not arguing that. I'm saying, Google should let us choose. If I want to download 4MB of bloat, let me. I don't like them making the choice for me that AMP is "the best" option. What you want, isn't what I want always, and that's my point. It is user hostile/a dark pattern for Google to force AMP on me, with no way to disable it.

In which way is Google forcing you to AMP? I've never encountered a website that didn't also have a not-AMP version.

It's forcing me to go through AMP, that's what I'm saying. And in the case of the parent OG article this is all on, that is currently broken. Thus, forcing me to be stuck on AMP, with no way to bypass it. That's why it needs a setting to disable it entirely. I don't want to have to go through a website to get to the one I wanted. I don't need the AMP middleman.

You are completely not understanding my point of having the OPTION to disable it, so users who don't want to deal with AMP at all (myself, and many others) can have that ability.

Can’t you still go to regular pages? I’ve never been forced to go to AMP pages. But I like them - people forget the full screen videos that popped up pre-AMP. Seriously - all this complaining you can’t load your bloatware pages is weird. AMP wouldn’t even be a thing if devs hadn’t trashed their own websites.

No. You either have to switch to Firefox or use DDG to avoid AMP. I switched to Firefox.

By not having a config item for their search to return the real url.

And, as in the main story, the AMP page bricking the link to the real url.

They're working on signed exchanges, you'll soon see the "real URL" of the content.

On Chrome only. While still retaining mandatory Google controlled JavaScript in the page (which is what's broken in this story). Not sure why real url is in airquotes. It's an actual issue.

So on chrome you will have the option of getting to the real url, on firefox and other browsers you can use plugins.

And hope Google hasn't borked up their js again, sure.

Not sure there's an extension API that could make signed exchanges work either.

Signed exchanges are a terrible idea. They take control away from publishers and let large sites (AMP caches) control small sites. Google punishes web publishers with a traffic drop unless they allow Google to serve their websites from Google's servers and include Google's JavaScript. AMP, signed exchanges, and portals can't seriously be considered real standards.

Which publishers is the control taken away? You're claiming news outlets have to be super afraid of punishment if they don't do AMP. That's empirically false, many news outlets dominate (or share the dominance) markets without doing any AMP. I don't necessarily like AMP, but claiming it's the (paraphrased) "worst thing after the black plague" is also dishonest, working on alternative solutions would be the right thing to do here.

I'm not only referring to news outlets.

AMP takes control away from web publishers by forcing them to allow anyone to serve their content (signed exchanges). Publishers no longer have control over how their sites get served (for example, no more server-side logs, because Google has forced you to let them serve your site).

It allows large sites (like Google) to have more control over smaller sites by putting back buttons at the top of your website in order to take them back to Google Search. The related "portals" scheme is the new "can you open all external links in a frame?" and small sites are going to be hurt the most.

Hardly anyone would implement that garbage if they weren't being threatened by Google with a traffic drop. If the ultimatum were "just make your website fast and add some schema markup to get in the carousel" then that would be fine. Forcing the entire Web to change to a restrictive format and load JavaScript from Google's servers, and seizing control of how websites are hosted is terribly damaging to the Web itself.

You've hit upon the most absurd part of these complaints. There are so many people here complaining about AMP, and not one of them in the years of AMP threads on HN have ever offered an alternative design for instant loading web pages.

It's really easy to get a 100 score on page speed with tools like Gatsby (and similar). People would implement faster pages if they could get in the carousel from it. For custom display in the SERPs, a neutral schema could be used.

Publishers don't want to be forced into using "instant loading web pages" if it fundamentally breaks the nature of the WWW and takes control away from them and gives it to a few large companies (AMP caches).

A 100 score is far from instant, which is what users want and what they get with non-open-web proprietary solutions like Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News.

Publishers have to meet users where the users want, and AMP is easily the best of the options because by implementing it once, publishers provide instant loading through multiple link aggregators. If I want to write my own link aggregator, I don't need the clout of a FAANG to get publishers to do a data integration for instant loading pages — I can just implement an AMP cache and use the AMP pages they have already published. AMP levels the playing field.

Google AMP is not entirely non-proprietary. It requires for everyone to load JavaScript from Google's servers, and they punish users for blocking it with an 8-second loading delay. AMP is a serious abuse of the word "open".

Google doesn't have a right to damage/destroy the Web or take control away from publishers so that Google can compete with Facebook and Apple. That is not a reasonable argument.

Publishers don't want AMP and the project would fail (as it should) if Google weren't strong-arming everyone to use it with a threat of traffic loss.

The Web is not a Google product, but Google is treating it like one. The company has seriously lost its way.

> and they punish users for blocking it with an 8-second loading delay

Google and the other search engines don't show AMP links if you have JavaScript disabled because it is impossible to prerender them without JavaScript, so you shouldn't even see AMP links without JavaScript. This criticism is nonsensical.

> Google doesn't have a right to damage/destroy the Web or take control away from publishers so that Google can compete with Facebook and Apple

The publishers get to decide if they want to integrate with Facebook, Apple, and all the AMP caches. The former two they have less control over because they only go to one company and don't have open governance.

> Publishers don't want AMP

They want the first two even less, but I don't see anybody complaining about that. As I said earlier, the problem for publishers is that users demand instant loading. AMP at least lets the publishers control analytics, ads, A/B testing, etc.

But we've gotten way off track again. Users demand instant loading pages. How do you solve it? Would you rather have Google require the publishers directly integrate with them as Apple and Facebook have done and not allow other link aggregators to benefit? Users also like RSS, which takes even more control away from publishers, does not allow above-the-fold loading optimizations for users, and has a much less rich experience, but nobody here has ever complained about RSS.

You can disable AMP by not using Google. DuckDuckGo doesn't have these problems.

You can disable it for now, but there are already some companies building their entire websites in AMP like independent.co.uk.

A better solution than AMP would be to only consider raw page speed, and then use a neutral schema markup for whatever extra features Google wants to display in Google Search.

What's wrong with AMP websites? AMP is a fast subset of HTML. That's different from using Google's AMP cache.

A subset wouldn't require you to load js to use built-in features like forms. A subset would just remove features or elements, which would make the whole load a js lib to make it work superfluous.

AMP is not a subset of HTML. It's a superset of a (badly defined) subset of HTML.

A "subset of HTML" that by specification is required to load Javascript from a central CDN, and by specification will let you wait multiple seconds before it shows anything if that JS doesn't load, even if perfectly usable content is loaded already.

AMP is an unethical scheme by Google to appify and control of the Web. There are many articles about it.

Here are some other pages:


> Right now, I don't believe there is a way to disable AMP

Desktop mode disables AMP on Chrome Android for me. I haven't tested with iOS though.

> AMP is my only option of getting de-bloated webpages

How about de-bloating your webpages instead?

Seriously, people, come on — just put less cruft in your web pages. Don't load 500 trackers. Say no when the marketing guys come over and tell you to add 10 more. Tell your bosses that marketing is incompetent. Push back and tell people that adding cruft is bad.

Please don't bother telling me how it "can't be done". It can, but you might not want to.

I'm actually quite happy about the way this AMP thing is unrolling: the bloated crappy sites will walk into the jaws of AMP and get badly owned by Google eventually, being completely dependent on them.

>How about de-bloating your webpages instead? [...] — just put less cruft in your web pages. Don't load 500 trackers. [...] Tell your bosses that marketing is incompetent.

For context so people don't get the wrong idea... I just want to point out that the gp you responded to (apexalpha) wrote "my option" and _he_ (as a web surfer) is not the manager in charge of those other programmers adding in the cruft. In his next sentence he wrote:

>I would love if managers and directors would do this themselves and AMP wouldn't be needed, but that's just not the case.

Sure you can. Put in a blocklist and turn off JS. Some pages break but many run much faster, and without the risk of malware or tracking. A strangely simple solution that people don't try.

NB. the remaining animated gifs can be stopped on palemoon and I think FX with shift+escape.

You occasionally gets CSS animations but they are pretty rare.

>Put in a blocklist and turn off JS. [...] A strangely simple solution that people don't try.

I'm not an iPhone expert but those don't seem simple.

In iOS, you can enter urls one at a time in the blocklist which is cumbersome. Obviously, this doesn't work for thousands of ad network urls. What people do on desktops is import a big hosts file but my cursory research says you can't do that on a non-jailbroken iPhone.[1]

If you mean "block" via DNS such as pointing to Adguard DNS servers, you can only manually change the DNS server ip address on wifi connections and not the cellular connection. For DNS blocks on cellular, you have to install vpn software.[2]

Disabling Javascript breaks sites like "cnn.com" (Yes, people should go to other sites instead of CNN but I don't mean for people to fixate on that one example. It's just one example of breakage of a widely known site instead of an obscure one.) Also on reddit.com, the collapse button "[-]" and the upvote/downvote buttons no longer work.

(But I'm not saying any iPhone setup difficulties means you should use AMP.)

[1] https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2028544/does-hosts-file-...

[2] https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/303168/ios-11-how-...

I was thinking desktop. I should have read up on amp first. Sorry. Thanks for the thoughtful reply though.

> Seriously, people, come on — just put less cruft in your web pages. Don't load 500 trackers. Say no when the marketing guys come over and tell you to add 10 more. Tell your bosses that marketing is incompetent. Push back and tell people that adding cruft is bad.

It's politically untenable. Marketing brings in the $$$ and you don't.

So when you can point to the carousel and say "You can either have that or the trackers" you actually have some leverage to push back on marketing.

Reader view gives you a nice debloated page. So far firefox has been able to accurately cleanse most mobile websites I've used reader view on (some sites like reddit disable it, but I bet threading would be poor on reader view anyway).

It would be nice to just disable JS on mobile though.

you can still put your wallet to vote and support outlets that provide a RSS feed, like a proper one with full articles and images

I will never get prioritizing speed over quality. Search results are worse than ever but Google is still claiming to know what we want. If only they had a business model that encouraged development of high quality tools rather than selling ads....

Meanwhile, the easiest way to speed up pages is to stop selling ads and splitting up content over multiple clicks.

umatrix and ublock origin are better options for getting de-bloated webpages. If you're stuck on mobile, ublock origin works in Firefox for Android.

Unfortunately, Google can rank by whatever criteria they want and we are forced to implement it. And it isn't always in the best interest of the end user.

E.g. at a company we had to add "useless" content on our shop pages, otherwise google ranked the pages lower due to having not enough content.

The Google Search team is always ranking pages to get the best metric (ctr, time-spend-on-website), s.t. it indicates that users are happy with the result.

If any feature/change introduces a regression, they will not ship it. (That kinda indicates that people outside of hn actually like amp)

Keep in mind that: amp team != search team.

Well, users would be happier with websites that showed fewer ads and had fewer tracking JS scripts slowing down the website. Will Google ever rank by that metric? Google is slowly but surely becoming an ad-infested link-farm kinda website, one they used to ban in their search results not too long ago.

> it indicates that users are happy with the result

Doubt. Especially "time spent on website" primarily indicates that the user didn't quickly find what they were looking for.

You'd be correct in assuming that it's a good indicator if it wasn't gamed. Since people believe that it's a ranking factor, they'll do whatever they can to increase it. Shitty SEO texts that go on and on without actually saying anything, breaking the back button, adding exit intent popovers, you name it, it's out there. All heavily increasing time on site. Are the users happy? Do you prefer a 5 sentence page that just plainly answers your question about some topic, or do you want a twenty paragraph novel that maybe, possibly somewhere includes the answer, but you need to completely read this opus magnum first?

Time spent on website?

Is that why answers are always buried in long articles or walls of text?

Seems a horrible metric.

Google uses that to a limited extent - if someone returns to the search results within a few second of clicking a link, the link wasn't what they wanted.

Publishers definitely use it more heavily.

Time spent on a website is an interesting metric. I am curious if there are studies linking it to happy users. I would guess there are some interesting findings after you remove immediate bounces from the data.

Time spent on website is more time spent looking at advertisement. The last thing an advertiser wants is a user finding their answer quickly and closing the tab without engaging with any advertising.

I have heard the AMP team is/was part of the search department.

Agreed. Further to your point, AMP was only ever needed because we made our pages so artificiality heavy in the first place

That's not why AMP is needed. It is needed (by google) to extend their dominance of search results into the results themselves. It is not needed by anyone else.

You can easily make pages lighter without AMP, and we shouldn't so easily swallow the reasons given by Google for its introduction.

I'll rephrase what he said.

AMP was only ever needed because so many made their pages so artificiality heavy in the first place and had no incentive to make them lighter.

AMP SEO advantage is a great incentive to make them lighter. The thing is, Google could have pushed their algorithm toward performance more and make it clear on their page too and have the same effect. They just found a way to get more control from it too.

I think the real trouble with AMP is that it really does bring a better experience to users. It's harder to argue against AMP when it has undoubtedly helped with the web bloat problem. Even I find myself semi-subconsciously preferring the results with the little lightning icon because it means I don't have to wait for the page to perform 3-4 tectonic shifts and wait a couple of seconds to read something that could've been text/plain without a lot of loss. Say what you will, but the experience is much better.

AMP was a very calculated move on Google's part. The narrative of "we're only doing it to help our users avoid the bloat" when everyone agrees that bloat is a huge problem works very well.

My experience is the exact opposite of yours. Amp drives me insane. It shows a bastardized version of most pages, it doesn't behave the way I expect. It has this weird swipe side to side thing that makes no sense and gets triggered accidentally. It also breaks scrolling in iOS, causing the header and footer to always show. I've gotten so sick of the terrible AMP browsing experience that I actually have to click the little i in the top corner to navigate to the real page. Which causes more data use, a worse user experience, and more difficult time getting to the content that I want.

> had no incentive to make them lighter

Didn't they? I mean, I figure everybody read the case studies about page load time and user abandonment. My experience is that those who built a leaner mobile version of their desktop site were also mostly the ones that built an AMP version (WP + "I'll just install a plugin and see what happens" left aside), while those that never cared about mobile users still don't.

Does AMP deliver better rankings? I haven't seen that on sites that I'm affiliated with, but that may be niche specific or the improvement wasn't big enough to go from 4 to 3 etc.

> Didn't they? I mean, I figure everybody read the case studies about page load time and user abandonment.

> that never cared about mobile users still don't.

News website still have multiple MB per page and they all got an AMP version which is much more lightweight.

> Does AMP deliver better rankings?

That's a good question. I do know that Google would show news stories with AMP at the top first, but that was part of a different widget. I do remember reading that it helped ranking.

Pages being heavy is just the justification Google used to implement AMP. They should have prioritised search results based on page size (they have the data) instead to reach the same goal.

(AMP isn't even that light - Google preloads pages in its AMP carousel, using bandwidth whether you tap to view them or not)

It's okay to use more data. But it's important to respect users on faster mobile networks who pay by quota. Getting to the top of Google isn't at all difficult if you know how to build a fast website. And that doesn't require AMP at all.

> It's okay to use more data. But it's important to respect users on faster mobile networks who pay by quota.

Aren't those 2 sentences contradictory?

"We have to consider both of these in seeking a balanced middle-ground" is hardly a paradox.

You think SEO specialists give a shit about AMP? They just care about how high your page ranks in Google--if anything, they'd love it if the web was more Google-centric.

This is sadly true. There is no universe in which e-commerce would not wholly try to swallow something that google recommends in order to increase their chances of ending up on the front page.

Same thing happens in agriculture over pesticide use !

You are talking about a small fraction of companies. Anyways, I would not bend over for Google not for AMP not for anything similar to it.

Just came to say I hate amp. If I want to go to a site I want that site not a google cache of it. It’s not a better experience. It just means another click to get to where I was going. Stop the madness Google kill amp.

AMP should be the first stop on the federal government's antitrust investigation. The sheer unfairness of being granted search priority if you hand over your content to Google is the pinnacle of leveraging monopoly power to gain power in another industry.

What "power in another industry" is being gained?

How is this confusing? What's not clear to you?

The 'other industry' part. AMP clearly expands and entrenches their power in parts of the web they are already in, but it's unclear what other or newer industry it is supposedly helping them dominate.

> but it's unclear what other or newer industry it is supposedly helping them dominate.

The entire web?

Indeed. They control the content, and the technology: It could become technically impossible to provide new alternatives for ads, privacy, or any other future use case or interaction.

How does google control the content? Signed exchanges, for example, give the exchange controller less control over content than a CDN.

The "power in another industry" part. What part of that wasn't clear to you?

Which market is Google unfairly benefiting/profiting in, by leveraging its market share in search?

Browsers, mobile operating systems, ad networks, comparison sites, video hosting sites, image search, map services, etc., etc., etc.

All of Google myriad of properties benefit from being able to limit competitors web page size, limit their technology use, restrict advertising and gating them behind your own servers.

Plus on top, Google doesn't have to do any of that shit themselves and can gleefully put themselves at the top of every search (and are doing with an ever expanding array of search terms).

As well as increasing the cost of developing a site to compete with any of Google's myriad properties, by having to support HTML and Google's proprietary AMP, that they're pretending is an open standard but is completely under their control.

>Google doesn't have to do any of that shit themselves and can gleefully put themselves at the top of every search (and are doing with an ever expanding array of search terms).

Why shouldn't a company be able to decide what they feature on their search results and how they rank things? If every result was a Google owned site, so what? Nothing is stopping you from using a different search engine.

Because it's using your domination in one market to destroy competitors in another, it's illegal.

Hence the big fines that google is starting to get hit with, with some regularity.

> Nothing is stopping you from using a different search engine.

AMP links are everywhere now, not just Google search results.

Thank goodness for the bot on Reddit that posts replies with the actual link, for any AMP links that are posted.

If you don't want to see Google content when you visit a web page, maybe you should visit a non-Google web page?

I don't think I've ever seen anyone on HN defend AMP. We all hate it. It's a pox on the modern web.

Depends on who you mean by "we", people working directly on implementing/supporting AMP? Anti-google crowd? Sure, you're probably right.

But as someone who's just an end user, and not working on frontend development who likes AMP, I don't bother commenting when the opinion is extremely skewed to one side.

I love AMP. The website loads faster, feels a lot snappier, and is overall positive experience for me. That's what I care about. I don't care how it got to that point, I want usable and fast loading website - and AMP gives me that.

Can this be speed and mobile friendliness be implemented without AMP? Yes. Is it implemented without AMP? Very rarely.

Of course there's the argument with google trying to get a tighter grip on web and while that is not a good thing the truth is that I, and huge majority of average consumers, just don't care if it means better results for me.

I highly doubt that you are just the "end user" you claim to be, otherwise you wouldn't be here, having this discussion. But let's assume that you are.

>Of course there's the argument with google trying to get a tighter grip on web and while that is not a good thing the truth is that I, and huge majority of average consumers, just don't care if it means better results for me.

What you are describing is the very common mix of "tragedy of the commons" + "pure utilitarianism". The future would be vastly better if everyone made a small sacrifice now, but each individual action counts for so little that you make the selfish but rational choice of letting others do the small sacrifice.

Maybe your page loads faster now, but this is happening by risking the destruction of the very environment that makes such pages worth reading (independent journalism, freedom from corporate control, etc.). In the long run, it means worse results for you, but your individual sacrifice is unlikely to have any effect. You feel selfish, so you rationalize a story where you are just the "common person" doing what makes sense.

The fact that we have a civilization is proof that there are ways out of this deadlock. For a long time, the answer was religion. We need something for the XXI century to play that role, i.e. making people think not only as individuals but also members of an entire species, ecosystem, etc.

Meanwhile, what you are saying amounts to: "fuck you, I got mine".

Don't forget that they don't even actually load faster, but rather support the illusion of such because Google lazy-loads a few of them in the background while you're reading through the search results. Which honestly has some merits of its own, though it's a kick in the dick for metered data.

>I don't care how it got to that point

>just don't care if it means better results for me.

That's part of the issue though, isn't it? Privacy advocates on here and elsewhere point out frequently that part of the problem is that people don't care enough. There's a similar dynamic in this case.

I've defended it in the past when it used to be faster (combined with pre-loading) than most websites, on mobile. Nowadays, it should be quite easy to optimize a website enough to be faster than the AMP version, but it seems not many websites are even trying…

Not true. Sites can’t safely preload and pre render non-amp pages, so non-amp pages will never be as fast as amp pages.

What websites need to not only regularly preload+prerender other webpages but also webpages outside their trustzone? And when does the performance of half a millisecond matter?

Latency to remote servers isn’t half a millisecond. A click off from google would normally take a second or two to render and be much worse at the p95 page load time.

With AMP, this is cut down to tens of milliseconds.

> A click off from google would normally take a second or two to render

The question isn't what do people normally do. The question is what's possible without Google's help. 200ms click-to-render is not difficult.

Google can get that down to 20ms or whatever with AMP, but for 99.999% of sites, Google's monopoly position is not the thing holding you back from faster loads.

Not in my experience; AMP has no latency benefit. Additionally, this doesn't really answer the question other than "Google needs this". What other websites need to do AMP on their end?

I'm pretty sure there were multiple comments about being able to make an AMP-alternative with regular HTML that's just as fast from the very first AMP-related post on HN. It may even have been the top comment for some of the first posts.

I love AMP pages. They load fast and get me in and out of content quickly.

As a mobile web user, I love AMP. Pages load instantly. I can and do click through multiple articles on the same topic before finding one that is the highest quality because the time cost of clicking through is nearly zero.

Google's, Bing's, Baidu's, etc.'s users by and large also love AMP or else they wouldn't spend the money on the infrastructure.

> I don't think I've ever seen anyone on HN defend AMP

I present to you AMP tech lead: https://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=cramforce

Not sure why anyone would downvote me. In the linked comment this user says that Google isn't nearly agile enough for the AMP team to respond to suggestions - or did I misread what I linked?

I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

"I want that site not a google cache of it" might be true for you, but for me, I don't want the site so much as the article or product listing, and for most users, they don't know that it's a google cache of it.

I think AMP provides the tools for a good UX but many sites don't provide it because they want the user to go to their site, because they mistakenly don't think they can get enough ad revenue or CTAs to get the user to sign up for mailing lists or add a product to a shopping cart on the AMP page. These are supported. So they only show an excerpt of the article on the AMP page and you have to go to the site in order to get it.

I could have sworn that Google promised a user preference to disable AMP results this year, but I can’t find any references.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for over a year now and it’s just painful.

I'm just curious, since I see this brought up all the time- what is painful about DDG? The only times I have poor DDG results is for anything that leverages Google maps, such as a local business. Considering even Apple can't touch gMaps I don't find this surprising, but for general search I switched to DDG because the results were better. For example, my last search was "mdd 3754" to find the data sheet for a mosfet. DDG links to the result as the first click, whereas Google serves an ad so large I need to scroll down on mobile to even see a result, and the first 3 results aren't even in English. I'm genuinely asking, what sort of search queries does DDG return painful results for?

I find their first result is usually as good as Google's, but what I am looking for is invariably #3+ and DDG just falls off a cliff.

And their image search is far inferior.

Interesting, perhaps my Google results are just exceptionally poor then, as if I don't see a result in the top 3 on Google then it won't be anywhere in the results. FWIW Google doesn't provide a single direct link to the data sheet for the query I posted in the first 3 pages for me. Even if I append "datasheet" to the query, the data sheet is still pushed to page 2. The only way I get the result on page 1 is to search "mdd 3754 mosfet datasheet".

Same applies to the query "c++ hash map", first page of Google is medium posts & unrelated stack overflow questions, DDG serves https://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/container/unordered_map as the first result. I assume Google is serving better results for other people, I just don't know why my results are so poor, possibly its due to adblocking & tracking protection. FWIW these searches were performed on brave Android with DNS.

Edit: the hashmap query is to provide a slightly malformed example, since what I really want is unordered_map. If I already know exactly what I want then Google can serve results, but that kinda defeats the point.

When I'm searching on my phone, it's usually something not very hackery. "heirloom vegetable seedlings Manhattan" is a pretty typical example.

That moment when you tap the omnibox planning to copy the URL and realise you are not on the actual site you meant to visit.

>If I want to go to a site I want that site not a google cache of it.

AMP isn't limited to Google cache. Websites and CDNs (like Bing and Cloudflare) can roll their own AMP and cache it themselves, while still getting the icon in search results.

Example: https://amp.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/6yj6iw/what_did_...

Arguably this means that Google is breaking point 11 of their own AMP Cache Guidelines [1]. If I ran any AMP pages, I would be quite upset.

1: https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/blob/master/spec/amp-c...

When you have the power to write the rules, you can break the rules. Google is too powerful.

I think Google is only going to play this "incompatibility" card more and more now that Chrome is the dominant browser.

We need more pushback against Google doing stuff like this, even when at first glance what they push for seems "positive."

Point 11:

No obstruction of the contents, branding or attribution of the original AMP document.

I hope AMP is the straw that breaks the camels back in googles antitrust suit - its the most blatant and shameless abuse of their position, IMO

When I attended the Drupal Europe 2018 conference I had the opportunity to talk to Barb Palser of the AMP global relations team. I asked her in an intentionally innocent way: "I thought AMP is supposed to replace RSS, but from the presentation it seems like it's trying to be a better HTML?" to which she replied yes. I acted all optimistic, so she wouldn't be defensive, but this conversation sent chills down my spine and I remember it to this day.

Why? AMP was promoted as a better HTML (a "good parts" subset plus a tiny extension) from day 1. It never had anything to do with RSS.

What would it even mean to be better RSS? The idea is sites can preload an AMP page safely so that when you click on it, it can display to the user instantly.

In that specific case, isn’t Barb correct, no chills needed?

The fundamental change is that now the content comes from Google's servers. Google is hosting the Internet.

Of course Google can't host illegal content on their service, right? And won't host content that goes against a future AMP user agreement...

From there they can tighten the screws against competitors, or future attempts at privacy, or basically anything they get away with.

Do you also think that CDNs are bad, since you end up accessing content from the first parties?

With CDNs I can decide which to use for my site, if any. If AMP gets established as the "new HTML", the new way Internet content is provided, then it's under Google's control.

Your concerns don't give them any more power than controlling the search results already gives them. They are free to deindex anything.

When AMP was introduced I assumed the actual content would be loaded from the canonical URL anyway. This whole in-between caching layer G introduced is very weird.

Also, I think what AMP was pitted against--Facebook instant articles--no longer exists, or at least doesn't particularly matter (now that FB is several pivots beyond the whole 'newsfeed is full of articles' stage).

One way to think of AMP is as a solution to "When people click on links from search the pages often load very slowly. Can we make this instant?" Any preloading based solution has to involve caching, because otherwise sites could learn that they had shown up in your search results without you having clicked on then.

(Disclosure: I work at Google, not on AMP, and I'm only speaking for myself)

While this might have been one of the reasons, most likely from the (sometimes rather native) perspective of devs, I still attribute mostly malice to this whole thing and hope it gets them good in the whole antitrust issue. Even if it were just that, trying to tackle slow loading pages out of selflessness on Google's side, I can only say: None of your ducking business. Make sure your pages load fast, and then that's it.

> trying to tackle slow loading pages out of selflessness on Google's side

I'm not sure where you're getting "selflessness". The faster pages load from search the better people's experience of using search is. This directly benefits both Google and people who use search.

Then don't link to slow pages. Stop pretending to be the internet.

Preloading in the browser? I guess... my understanding was that the major benefit of AMP is the stripped-down markup. eg. in AMP you can't have a giant background video, or a bunch of JS email opt-ins driven through live A/B tests... all the random stuff that slows down sites these days.

Then again, the problem is not loading the article, it’s loading 50 tracking scripts, ads, fonts, 20 megapixel photos and popup videos.

It was an answer to Facebook's Instant Articles, and nothing else. As a response to Instant Articles it's intent was to bend publishers to the company's will and create a tightly controlled walled garden.

Everything else is the result of that original decision. And the continuous apologetics for the myriad bad and malignant decisions are the direct result of that decision.

AMP links are a major reason I switched to duckduckgo on mobile. Google seems to be shortsighted in doing this.

Yes, only a tiny minority of technical users will know what amp pages are and switch search engines to avoid them. But, a larger group will likely find the amp pages annoying, even if they can't precisely articulate why. This weakens google's hold on the market.

Why do you think a larger group will find AMP annoying? I know I'm in the minority, but I generally like AMP in my search results.

If it breaks things. For example, I had a common issue where reddit links in search didn't have comments and I had to click through to get to them

If the amp page displays what you expect, it works well. It it makes you click through, it doesn't.

Of course, users may or may not realize amp/google are the reason a site is broke.

Dunno how many people have issues like this though. Reddit was the main one for me, plus a few random sites having issues.

"broken" and "requiring an extra click" seem like two different things to me. Although I understand that you're not getting what you expected, so my judgement here is subjective.

It may not be obvious to users why their site is broken. Of course, at that stage they may blame the site unless they know why the site appears that way in the first place.

But it isn't always obvious how to get to the site from an AMP page.

My point was that "broken" feels like the wrong term. I think the site owner should be blamed if content the user needs is not either on the AMP page or accessible with an easily found link.

> I think the site owner should be blamed if content the user needs is not either on the AMP page or accessible with an easily found link.

Hmm. If AMP participation were voluntary, I would agree, but given how necessary it is to SEO ranking, Google deserves a large portion of any blame for broken content - They do not get a free pass to enforce usage of a protocol, but dodge the consequences of its implementation (which will always involve friction and some breakage).

Fair point :) For my own stuff, I don't really care too much about SEO so I'm not sure what the full implications are.

Google is serving a broken page for Firefox on Android (intentionally serving something along oldschool wap pages). I used an addon to fix that, but then the page suddenly was full of ads, videos, smart boxes and amp links.

<tinfoil> What if it's not a bug, but Google testing user response </tinfoil>

(assuming Google is not stupid so Hanlon's razor may not apply)

Your post remined me of this twitter thread from one of mozzilla's developers:



""" And every time, they’d say, “oops. That was accidental. We’ll fix it in the next push in 2 weeks.” """

I remember that thread now. Well, looks like standard Google behavior then.

No tinfoil required. When in doubt about such issues think about whether or not the "bug" or "error" that people found in Google's solutions benefits Google. If it does, then it's much more likely than not that the "bug" was intentional.

At best they wanted to test user reaction, or at worst, they were hoping it wouldn't be discovered (see Wi-Fi scanning, Safari cookies block bypass, tracking Android users' location at all time, even when "disabled", etc).

Don't attribute to stupidity what can easily be explained by profit incentives (did I just invent a new saying/law?!).

Looks like capitalism has blunted Hanlon's razor :-)

Not unreasonable, but then they would probably A/B test it rather than just break it for everyone. Although I guess they might be A/B testing and I’m just in the same group as OP.

Would they? Cause that would obviously give away that the break was intentional. If they break it for everyone they can still just blame it on an unintentional mistake.

I don't think it's an unreasonable thing to ponder.

This seems to be a way for Google to make revenue from news sites and is a clear abuse of monopoly power. When I click on an AMP news link, I see a “carousel” at the top that shows multiple news articles. I can go to various articles on a topic by swiping left or right, all without going back to the news site.

But now that Google has removed the link to visit the site, it is clear they don’t want you to visit the actual news site but do everything through Google.

This means that only the Google ad network will be allowed, so they stand to benefit from this arrangement, and news sites can have no hope of receiving any traffic.

No, multiple ad networks (100+) are allowed in google amp, so publishers are free to chose what monetizes best: https://marketingland.com/google-says-100-ad-networks-suppor...

Yes! I’ve been having this issue for days but assumed it was just me. It is particularly frustrating for sites like Reddit where the AMP version is too aggressively cached and misses most of the recent comments.

Reddit plays it's own games. While they dropped the aggressive "Use app" nagging, they now frequently and purposefully (?) break back-navigation (eg. from individual posts to the subreddit) with the all too common "Oh snap. Something went wrong" and cutesy picture excuse for a dysfunctional site.

Reddit is fun now; start Tor, try to visit a soon-to-be-banned sub-reddit, enjoy Tor's tracking notifications not present on normal reddit sub-reddits. Looks like reddit is turning into one large honeypot.

I don't understand, can you elaborate? What are Tor's tracking notifications?

I think bitL is saying that reddit embeds some sort of tracking script in “soon-to-be-banned subreddits” that they don’t embed in normal subteddits, and that you can tell this from notifications within Tor

Still don't follow. Why track soon-to-be-banned subreddits differently?

Don't ask me, it's just an observation. I don't think Reddit employs imbeciles so the usual "oops, a bug there!" is unlikely. But given it's pretty easy to track a visitor across multiple social networks in real time, including their real identity, it's good to be aware of it and even being a bit paranoid about one's privacy while on Reddit.

I'm not sure. bitL deleted his/her earlier response saying we had to test it for ourselves

Have any examples so we can see for ourselves?

I'd noticed it first when they put r/watchpeopledie under a review, then later banned it. I have no crystal ball to know what are they going to ban next, but I am sure you can find some subreddits that are now quarantined.

Maybe this list would help?


Soon one won't be able to train NLP models on certain archetypes of speech if they continue banning everything deviating from preferred topics of their advertising/corporate sponsors :-(

It feels like a solution to a problem no one was having, and now it's breaking the internet for people who never asked to use it.

Reddit mobile is ridiculously slow in a browser.

But they did it to themselves. i.reddit.com is fast as hell.

m.reddit.com loads 100x the Javascript.

Thus Amp fixes a probme they created bc reasons.

In almost all situations, I prefer the mobile web over apps. But reddit's mobile offerings are _so bad_ compared to Reddit Sync. I know at some point Reddit will pull the plug on third party apps, and that's when I stop using Reddit.

They made it bad intentionally so you'd install their app

Exactly, I am of the opinion that users and sites should figure it out. Google as a middleware for your entire user experience is a crazy idea for so many reasons.

Most of the JS is part of the different ad tech networks anyway. Hell, maybe that's their drive? Making it harder to have competiting ad tech?

Reddit implementing AMP seems such a bad decision, it defies the entire point of the site.

I looked at Reddit recently for the first time in a long time and the whole thing is a train wreck of marketing decisions built on shoddy code. If you look up a user who doesn’t exist[1] their karma reads “undefined”. If you navigate to their comments or about page (an info page for reddit accounts... why?) the site routes you to those pages with the value “undefined” as the username. But there is an actual user who chose that name so now you’re looking at their account page.


I don't know anything about AMP, so I'm genuinely amazed that one could create bugs in it that just downright break hyper references.

I though links was a pretty important part of HTML, and so people took care to ensure they work?

It a bug that's breaking some JavaScript that renders the AMP page header. It's breaking a link Google is supposed to generate via their mandatory included js for AMP pages.

Not for google. They want to kill links.

Which would be ironic, given their whole business has been built on following links and keeping track of what links to what.

More accurately, they want to keep you in their garden. Not knowing it's happening would be advantageous for the goog.

What do they intend to replace them with?

Pretty sure it would still be links behind the scenes. The argument is only for user-facing links to „get simpler“ on the basis of links with tokens and whatnot being to complex and easy to get phished with. Don‘t forget, in Googles vision everyday users won‘t interact with keyboard/mouse or similar in the not too distant future. It‘s all Assistant and device-agnostic ambient computing.

As far as I know they have not proposed a replacement, only an intention to come up with one.

They've proposed the 'portal' element in the last month [0] to replace the link with something... Different... Haven't they?

[0] https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-launches-portals-a-new-...

Portal is moreso an alternative to iframes than an alternative to links. But it's true that it could very well make it more likely for a portal to another site to be included in a page rather than using a link.

They still use a link to source the embedded page as well, it's just that a portal is a bit more friendly with the host frame.

AOL Keywords

Bying ads from Google, only way to get traffic soon.

Wouldn't that just be another type of link?

That's why it's so strange. There isn't an alternative that isn't just a link with a different syntax, so why bother upending the internet for it? Things have worked pretty well for decades now, the whole point of writing a protocol is for long term usage in a changing world. So far so good!


It's the year 2067, all websites are now npm packages. If you want to view a website, you must require it into your browser's package.json.

Season 6 black mirror pitch idea right here

Wait what? What did I miss?

Interesting, I didn't even consider that could be a bug. I just assumed that was how AMP was supposed to behave and moved to Duckduckgo for mobile search.

I'm surprised I haven't seen more discussion on the actual bug in the comments. In the screen capture the user shows, the AMP header shows the link icon in the upper right corner, and when you click it it should show the real URL and let you navigate through (but that's not happening, hence the bug).

However, in my experience the header is totally different. There is an (i) icon in the upper left corner that shows the link when tapped, and the upper right corner shows the share icon and tapping it opens the share dialog. Note this changed for me recently (I used to get the link icon like the poster).

So Google is clearly testing different behavior, which probably led to the bug. In any case, I'd note the version I got that I think the (i) is much less clear than the link icon, and I'm sure the end result is people clicking through to the source site less often. Fuck Google and their aggressive attempts to hijack the web even more than they already have.

I think in general anything about amp receives a bit of attention to put it mildly. I'm curious if anyone from amp/google is lurking around to give a perspective. It is reproducible on all my devices now. I remember it working at least yesterday...

Why should a community of highly skilled engineers provide free debugging labor to a giant corporation to fix a bug in a product that only exists because Malte Ubl wanted to get promoted?

So many people in this thread complain about AMP being forced on them as an end user. Nobody forces you to use Google...

Just use another search engine like DuckDuckGo. It is sufficient for over 90% of my searches and I haven’t seen an amp page in ages.

AMP for SEO is another discussion, in that case it is kind of forced on you if you want to rank high on the Googlenet.

The problem is that _everyone else uses Google_.

Even though I don’t use Google for search, my friends do and they’ll gladly share AMP pages with me.

"Weird, what web site even is that?"

First of all, I'm not a web developer, so I may not get all the problems with AMP.

I actually love AMP on mobile. Every site I've used(1) that has an AMP version loads faster and works better even with some ads than the normal version on Firefox mobile with uBlock Origin. Given that it's possible for people to host their own AMP cache (like Cloudflare does), I really don't see the problem with AMP itself.

(1) Other then Reddit, but considering how much of a dumpster fire their normal mobile site is I honestly think that it's broken on purpose to try and make people use the app.

The AMP links to visit the original site are working fine for me on Brave (based on Chromium) on Android: clicking on the "(i)" icon shows the URL.

The easiest way to to get rid of all AMP pages in Google search results is to disable javascript on www.google.com/*.

Doesn’t work on iPhone Safari for me, I get the same translucent gray overlay regardless of where I tap.

Could it be an iOS/Safari-specific bug?

The tweet says it's Chrome on iOS.

Which is still actually Safari/Webkit as foreign rendering engines are not allowed to ship on iOS.

I don’t think you can disable AMP if you’re not signed in.

Quite a few Google features to help you manage the level of intrusiveness they can exhibit are only available if you log in.

Maybe an obvious or stupid question, but that's worth asking: As a user, do we have a way to disable AMP?

Use DuckDuckGo instead? There’s no switch in Google.

Not a dumb question at all! The answer is no, but there are workarounds like playing with the user agent or using an unsupported browser.

A reminder that AMP results don’t show up on Google Search if you use the mobile version of Firefox ;)


Chromium on mobile has always had issues with AMP for me, I've just come to acept it I think it's wrong for a monopoly to take control of what another entitys site looks like. It's a we can take care of EVERYBODY feature: we were fine without it and will be fine when it doesn't exist anymore

Try this https://phys.org/news/2019-06-mass-anomaly-moon-largest-crat... on iOS safari. The source link does not open.

I also absolutely hate how it lets you zoom out but not zoom in. Have to reload the entire page to get it to the original size :/

May I ask what screen recording app is he using?

It’s built into iOS nowadays, you can add it to your control centre via settings.

I just discovered this, after my daughter told me about it. You need to set it to show in your control center first.

iOS has screen recording built in which stores the video in your photos.

It's the circle on the bottom right in the first frame of the video.

Use Kiwi Browser, it has built-in AMP removal.

Oh look another "completely innocent mistake" by Google

You're getting downvoted, presumably because "they wouldn't be evil", but I find the alternative just as problematic: a superpower tech company with a budget larger than many nation states hiring the best and the brightest and paying them unbelievably well so they do their best.. breaking fundamental features in widely used software and not realizing it themselves (they wouldn't ship the update otherwise, I believe). What's happening there?

And the follow up thought: "move fast and break things" suggests that we should think twice before relying on these companies for anything close to critical infrastructure.

Google's power abuse with AMP is really upsetting. Hopefully this is being looked into and AMP canned before its spread via monopoly is irreversible. It's bad for all, but Google.

Happens in iOS Safari too

Why would you want to visit sites that aren't Google (c)? They're probably very unsafe and full of very annoying ads!

Simple. Don't use it. It doesn't make any sense anyway.

Sure if it's your site, you don't use AMP - it just indicates disregard for basic web usability and competence. But what about the (rare) site using AMP with you having no control? Hmm ... ok thinking about it I don't know any site using AMP worth reading. I guess using AMP, like script-heavy content, is just a negative marker for quality content.

How do you do that?

The broken feature is the exact feature that lets you not use it....

Isn't AMP blatant copyright infringement? If so, how does a website owner demand the infringement to be taken down?

The sites themselves are opting into AMP, I believe. Google isn't just converting the site to AMP automatically. The owners of the site themselves have to add code to their site for it to work with AMP...

Oh, I see. Never mind then. I've never used AMP so thought it was automatic for all or most websites on the internet.

Google strong-arms sites into implementing AMP by giving SEO boosts to those sites, such as showing your articles in the "Top stories" section

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