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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




Counterpoint:

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:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Anews.ycombinator.com+amp&t=...


> 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.




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