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Ask HN: How can we destroy AMP?
486 points by buboard on Aug 3, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 239 comments
All ideas welcome

I would urge people to tell Matt Mullenweg and core WordPress developers that they don't want AMP in WordPress core. Since WordPress runs on >30% of the web, if WP adopts it, it will make the choice for most of the web that websites must shape themselves in the way Google wants it. Google is currently doing a stellar job penetrating WordPress and using its increasing influence to support its own business interests.

Probably the most effective move that can be made right now. Affects a huge number of sites.

Challenge for WordPress: make it work faster without AMP than with AMP.

How can you make something faster than prerendered?

Prerender it.

Should be table stakes for sites nowadays.

Well. You can’t prerender a BGP announcement at your ISPs border. So your locally cached prerendered version on -insert some random ISP here- will always be slower than google in 99% of the cases.

Been competing against google since 2005, I’ve seen a thing or two.

For sure you're not going to be faster than google. But if you're site is > 3x slower than AMP, people will notice and prefer AMP. The point is to stay competitive.

The resources aren't even on the browser, so how will it prerender the page?

Reduce the demand for it. Include easily accessible "article only" mode, make your site friendly to current Reader Modes for all major browsers. No obtrusive ads, no 500 trackers bogging down the browser. Quick loading. Just give us the info we need, nothing more. Just like ad blockers were a response to websites not respecting people's attention and safety, likewise AMP is a response to them not respecting people's time.

All of that would be awesome, but it won't kill AMP.

AMP isn't popular because users love it. It's popular because Google shows AMP-only results for the first screen (often two or more screens) of search results on their site. You can make as beautiful an experience as you want, but users won't see it when they search, so they won't ever get to experience it.

I don't think these issues are mutually exclusive.

Users search for news/article content with Google because the experience is qualitatively better than many of the alternatives. If there was a news website that showed trending and search-based results (and there are several), the presentation of the article after SERP clickthru would still need to be comparable.

Facebook did a more AMP-like thing of migrating the article content onto Facebook, providing the least offensive (if you are already using Facebook) presentation.

News websites in 2019 almost all auto-play video upon load and many times the video is unrelated to the article content. They load clickbait partner links in the footer. They still have dozens of ad networks and tracking beacons sprinkled on every page. I can't reliably trust my ad blockers and tracking beacon blockers or Reader Mode to work all of the time.

As much as I would like competition with Google+AMP and Facebook+articles, the current state of the web is gross and these two clean it up a little.

I haven't seen an AMP page in over 2 years, and I use Google search a lot. Anytime I saw one I clicked away in disgust, so maybe they're filtered for me.

The problem is all the people and big websites that don't seem to care at all about their own content pushing amp as some sort of great solution for website speed. Sad, but it seems to have died down.

AMP results are persistently - as in, without exception - at the top of all results for any search that has an active news event attached to it.

Right now nine of the first ten results for "Walmart shooting" in incognito mode stock Chrome on Android, are AMP articles.

Do that search, if you're not seeing those AMP articles then you're doing something very unusual with your setup.

Oh yeah, I don't read the news. If anything is important enough, I'll visit the Reddit live thread, or if it's not time sensitive, it will be in the news 2-3 weeks later, at which point it's probably worth reading.

So major news outlets are still on the AMP bandwagon? And they complain about revenue...

> If anything is important enough, I'll visit the Reddit live thread

Reddit uses AMP. If you search via Google for a Reddit thread, you'll get an AMP link. I sometimes see Redditors posting AMP links to other Reddit threads, presumably because Google search is more effective than Reddit's own search.

> or if it's not time sensitive, it will be in the news 2-3 weeks later, at which point it's probably worth reading

Google shows AMP for all search results, not just the current-news carousel. If I search for 'Sandy Hook shooting' on my phone, I see a Wikipedia onebox, the first search result which is Wikipedia (no AMP), a handful of news articles from the last few weeks, and then the remainder of the actual search results: a Business Insider article from December 2018 (AMP), an ABC article from 2014 (AMP), a Reuters article from a few weeks ago (AMP), an NBC article from a few weeks ago (AMP), a CBS News article from 2017 (AMP), a Britannica article (no AMP), and two YouTube videos (no AMP).

Go straight to Reddit, or better yet old.reddit.com :)

I tried that search, none are AMP for me. Tried "walmart shooting", none are AMP, even CNN live updates. Android/Firefox.

Tried Chrome, not signed into Google, no AdBlock, still No AMP.

Strange... May be Internet speed related?

AMP links will only show on mobile. That's what the M stands for.

> So major news outlets are still on the AMP bandwagon?

They don't have a choice. If they aren't then Google won't show them, and they won't get any traffic.

I tried your example and I'm not seeing AMP links on Firefox nor Chrome for Mac. Either I've changed a preference somewhere or UBlock Origin is bypassing them.

The M in amp is for 'mobile'.

In particular, in Chrome for Mac, if you go to developer tools and enable mobile emulation (click the second icon at the top left of the developer tools window), then go to google.com and do a search for a current news topic, you'll see AMP results in your desktop browser.

They said Chrome for Android. That might suggest AMP is only getting shoved at mobile users.

It is specially only for mobile users (as currently implemented, at least)

Are you using your phone? I see them all the time (and its pretty easy to notice with the hiding of the address bar).

I use Safari pretty much exclusively on both macOS and iOS and I saw my first amp page a couple of months ago. My first thought was oh there’s something different about this page followed by the realisation that it’s my first amp page.

Since then I’ve only seen two more. All three time I’ve clicked away almost immediately.

I think the reason I don’t see them much is because I don’t use google for search often, and I never use google news.

Maybe they're using Firefox for Android, Google doesn't seem to be pushing AMP links to it (yet?).

I dont know about that but they do push them to Safari on iphone

Phone and tablet, Firefox (logged into Google, with adblock), Chrome (not logged in, no AdBlock), no AMP. May be Internet speed related? No idea

Does anyone around here actually know how to make sites friendly to iOS safari reader mode? Last I checked, it wasn't documented, and the best wisdom floating around was something like "use divs and maybe an article tag or two"

I've no idea about Safari's reader mode, but you can have a look how the readability feature in Firefox works: https://github.com/mozilla/readability

I'd expect the Safari feature to work quite similar.

Why not just make your site readable in the first place?

.. and then just hope that the safari reader mode can read it?

Then people won't have to use a reader mode.

> likewise AMP is a response to them not respecting people's time.

I really don't think this is the reason Google had spent millions on making this.

A more realistic explanation is tvis situation gave someone the idea and management accepted it as it would give them yet another way to corner the market.

I m more wary about google ranking amp pages higher. I m not sure if amp is a response

Oh, and for the love of g-d, unless your page really needs JS (as in, it's an interactive editor or something), please make it usable with JS switched off.

How is this comment being voted down?

There's a real Stockholm syndrome prevalent here. Is the request so unreasonable?

And it's even worse. I browse with NoScript, no JS by default. Often I'm presented with a blank web page. I simply do View -> Page Style -> No Style in Firefox and usually I get a perfectly readable page.

Which means that countless sites go out of their way to be hostile to people not using JS. That's now acceptable?

Because it's hard to not something if your job depends on something or other.

Maybe stop using google and other search engines that prioritize AMP in the results. I’ve been using DDG for a long time now and don’t miss google at all.

I switched from Chrome+Goog to Firefox+DDG...but had to dump DDG a week later. The results just aren’t anywhere near on par with google. The results have no dates so I’m constantly served results to outdated tech info (5 year old posts about Cassandra, no thanks DDG), and they only present 1 link to an article vs the more info-dense google format with 1 primary link to say, StackOverflow, and 4 more possible hits smaller just below it presented as “more from this site.”

Basically I get more done faster with google search, however much I hate the goog panopticon. I’ve also switched to Apple News and Maps so I’m very much trying to dump goog, but search is where they still really excel.

I do wish I’d come back to Firefox sooner though, absolutely love it post quantum.

I've taken to using DDG and when I find that the results are unsatisfactory, I stick a '!g' at the start or the end of my query, and it redirects to the google results page.

That seems like a good approach until you consider that you don’t know whether the results are unsatisfactory if you aren’t looking at both sets of results on each search. You can’t see what you don’t look at and you can’t know what you don’t know. Google may have a better result for you, but how would you know unless you search both engines?

“Unsatisfactory” is an opinion-based comparison. If you find something that satisfies your desire, it’s satisfactory. I’d say your argument is more based on whether the results are more accurate, or “better” in some more concrete way.

That's not what satisfactory means.

Like I mentioned though, with no dates every page is unsatisfactory. I’m not gonna waste time clicking each link to look at the date before I devote time to reading it

I JUST ran into this. It's not good for tech searches for this very reason. I was trying to look up an issue with an application, and every link I clicked on was from 7 years ago.

I switched to google and instantly grabbed some ones from 2019

This is the kind of feedback DDG should take seriously.

then use DDG's time filter.

That's tough when the only filters are "1 month", "1 week", and "1 day". Is there some way to get 1 year? I ask as a daily ddg user

I was doing g! at work for tech searches so often I switched back. I gave it several months of effort. One example, I was googling an AWS service related question and the front page was blogs and garbage. g! had the official docs at the relevant part as the first result.

This happens way too often, and I like to think not because of personalized results.

You could use s! As an alternative to startpage (which serves google results but without google directly tracking you)

I've has the same experience; firefox has been comparable to chrome in functionality but ddg is just awful compared to google. Maybe it'll get better as time goes on...

I've been using ddg as default for over year now. But I do pull Google results when querying documentation.

Funnily enough, I've been using DDG for a few years and results have definitively improved to the point I'm using less and less !g

And when I do use !g results (especially tech related) are not that good ! Maybe because Google have not enough info to set me in the correct "bubble" ?

DDG does the job for me.

Startpage.com is a good alternative for those who don't find DDG results satisfactory.

And you can get to startpage by doing !s instead of !g.

> constantly served results to outdated tech info

Just to be contrarian... maybe there's some useful signal there about why you might prefer technologies without so much churn.

One problem I wish Google would solve is this. When I'm looking to solve a problem I've found that tons of first page results are dated but years. Adobe cc for example, they are churning updates, lots of people are having the same issues once I actually go to Adobe but the results are sometimes a decade old!

Biggest problem in your problem is Adobe. It's an utter nightmare to keep up with the constant UI changes - I really wish they'd invest more time in fixing crashes than moving shit around.

If anyone here is at Adobe, please for the love of god hammer it into the heads of your PMs to do three or four sprints dedicated only to resolving bugs and crashes.

but both Google and DDG let you filter by date. Does that not work for you?

Just to be clear (since downvotes and replies suggest I wasn't) my point is that if you're using a technology where anything written two years ago is out of date and now useless information, maybe instead of using a search engine that shows newer information you should rather prefer to use technologies where ten-year-old information is still relevant. I'm pretty sure anything I read about TeX today is going to continue to be useful information ten years from now. Not so much anything I read about Kubernetes or the non-relational database du jour. (Which is why I prefer not needing to read about those things ever.)

This is what I do and I love it. In order to avoid the AMP experience I had to stop using google web search, and it turned out that I can't tell the difference in results anyway.

Stop using Google, everyone! It's not necessary and you'll be tracked far less. Plus you're helping to save what is left of the web from one of the most odious attacks on it ever.

> you'll be tracked far less

Citation needed.

Last I checked, most news sites still throw dozens of ad networks and tracking beacons on their pages. If they use Google Analytics, Google Fonts, Google Maps, or other Google web APIs, Google still tracks (or has the capability to) many of your movements across the web.

I'm not against making incremental changes to my own life, but there's no clear value in doing this yet.

Decentraleyes and Ublock Origin will block the vast majority of tracking beacons you encounter from FANG sites.

I'm not personally as worried about being tracked by Google APIs, but UMatrix will still block the majority of them -- even Youtube embeds and many Google fonts. That means you get to choose which sites are allowed to load those APIs, which is a huge improvement over just giving Google access to everything.

Honestly, while fingerprinting is still a huge concern, blocking the majority of Google's tracking on 3rd-party sites is pretty easy, since Google tracking is served from consistent domains.

The remaining pain points are stuff like reCaptcha and AMP, which are obviously a big problem, but are not used universally enough to erase the privacy gains you'll get by switching off of Gmail and Google search.

If you're already running a (good) adblocker, you will genuinely be tracked less if you switch off of Google. There are ways to mess that up and erase those gains (cough running stock Android with default settings cough), but it's very feasible for most tech-literate people to reduce Google tracking right now.

At the moment I use DDG for search, Firefox, privacy badger extension and a good vpn as well as keeping a separate browser for facebook or google sites. I switched from android to ios because I preferred Apple’s stance on privacy.

There is lots more that could be done but small, incremental changes do add up over time.

You don't search the web using news sites.

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/amp2html/ is a nice little addon when I have to do a search on Google.

I’ve been really impressed with DDG. When I initially made the switch about a year ago and found local (New Zealand) searches were a bit crap. Then i discovered the bangs feature. If the search is crap throw a “!g” in but I’ve been doing that a lot less lately.


I’ve had the same experience. I’ve wondered what the cause of using !g less is.

Is it because I’m giving google less and less of a diet so it’s ability to cater to me is eroding?

Or perhaps DDG is just truly getting better?

Or is there a subtle feedback loop between man and search engine where we learn how to search better and better given a certain tools behavior?

Would love to hear what others suspected.

Part of it is how you phrase searches.

I mainly use DDG, but whenever I have to go to !g, I find I get better results if I phrase it like a brain damaged lunatic who can't spell and didn't start thinking about the query until two words in. I believe it keeps Google happy, if you throw it a little bone by letting it second-guess your query. Make it feel all smart and artificially intelligent, so it gives you the good results.

In DDG I usually just enter some keywords.

Anecdata: people are spoiled with google. Context-aware search queries are rampant in younger folks.

Older G users also rely on it but to a lesser extent. Having a couple weeks of appending !g when a search query does not match eventually hits the spot where "hey, they actually don't know what I'm thinking now".

Not this.

When using DDG a couple of years back, I noticed that after a while, throwing in a !g became my default so I figured I might as well switch back to Google. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to love DDG but for my searches, I would simply have to revert to Google too often.

I think by using DDG you will feed data to DDG thus improving DDG. A huge advantage that Google has over DDG is huge enormous userbase that constantly feed data to Google thus making it better compared to other search engine. CMIIW.

I'd give it another go, at the start I was tempted to switch back a couple of times but now I very rarely do.

This comment and a lot of its children are about DDG vs. Google. But that's not this point.

That some techies avoid Google, won't kill AMP. That does not mean I am against it, I use DDG as default engine and fall back to Google only if I tried different queries and scrolled down and still can't find it, and I recommend DDG to everyone. But this question is about killing AMP, which this won't significantly help towards unless we can get non-AMP search engine market share a lot higher than it currently is.

Agreed. Use DDG and Apple News almost exclusively for web content and not encountered an AMP page in a long time.

Google is a data-led org, where metrics are king. If AMP’s metrics go the wrong way it’ll be dropped.

So I think this works for the 1% of people that are informed about the issue and the struggle but how do you convince that 99% of the population that frankly probably doesn’t even care? Andecdotal but I know personally that when I used DDG a couple of times I was getting slightly less relevant results than I was using Google and if this happened to anyone in the general population, they’d just keep using Google.

DDG has to show you less relevant results because they don't know much about you. The problem is that seeing less relevant search results is only considered a good thing by very privacy-sensitive people. One approach could be to advertise DDG as a search engine that works against filter bubbles and everybody sees the same results for the same query (not sure if this is actually the case).

I don’t buy this at all. I get much better results from Google compared to DDG even when I’m using Tor.

Google just has a really good results, it’s not that they’re customized for me.

Yes, Google also has a better index and more experience in building a search engine. I'm just arguing why DDG cannot be as good as Google, when you expect personalized results. E.g. when you are a programmer and get results for Swift the programming language rather than the pop star.

Unfortunately DDG of late has been very poor for me, and I'm not convinced it has anything to do with tracking. For example, if I'm searching for a store to buy something and the first term in the search query is my country, returning me no results at all on the first page that are stores in that country (when several such stores exist) is literally useless, and clearly DDG could have done better.

They aren't just less relevant - they are less complete. One specific example: their coverage of academic sites. As an experiment, I have entered the titles of several papers and they failed to show up in the results.

It's not just academic journal articles either: their results are, by and large, less complete - it's what initially led me to do the experiment in the first place.

The 1 percent of people that care often end up doing tech support for the 99 percent that don’t. Each time I help someone with their system I ask them if they want me to clean things u a bit and if they say yes, I show them that I’m setting FF as their default browser, DDG as their default search engine and so on.

People go with what their “expert” friend recommends all the time. If I want to buy a car, I ask a friend who is super into cars for advice, if I want a blender I ask a foodie friend. The same effect can help promote other technologies.

> So I think this works for the 1% of people that are informed about the issue and the struggle

Change the default search provider on every family computer you do tech support for.

That gets us up to 2 or 3%.

I moved over to DDG this week because I got added to some sort of Google A/B testing that was really annoying with no opt out (when logged into my Gmail account search results no longer showed the URL, which was bad for so many reasons). There's specific types of searches that Google is better at, but DDG is close enough that I don't mind making it my default

Yup, switched to DDG for search, Firefox Quantum: Developer Edition for browsing and web dev (bonus points for allowing extensions, e.g. uBlock Origin, in their mobile Android app), and ProtonMail for email.

Extensions for Firefox on Android are a godsend feature. Pretty much the sole reason I use Android instead of iOS.

That + ease of doing backups and migrations on an unlocked device.

> Firefox Quantum: Developer Edition for browsing and web dev (bonus points for allowing extensions, e.g. uBlock Origin, in their mobile Android app)

Similar setup here, but recently switched back to iOS. It's a shame that extension support is impractical because of WebKit.

Doesn't stop people sending me AMP links though.

I dearly wish iMessage was scriptable do I could write something to strip incoming links.

The whole marketing aspect behind AMP is that its fast. This is the narrative that has sucked most publishers in. It is also not true (to the degree you think).

I run a leaderboard of major news publishes (mostly English language based ones). It relies on WebPageTest.org and tests about 60+ articles pages nightly on 3G and 'Fast 3G' speeds. The myth that you cannot have a fast web page AND have ads on it is a myth. Several organizations do it and do it well (DotDash dominates the board with their sites).


Before I hit API limits on WPT I was also testing against the AMP version of the page too. The speed differences between the regular page load and the AMP page load was often very similar. I recall in some cases (Quartz, Guardian, NYT) that regular pages loaded faster than AMP.

That aside, assuming a regular web page took 10 seconds to load (a top 10 article) you would expect that the AMP page would be faster, say down to 2 or 3 seconds in Load Time in order to make the effort of having yet another template/format to support and to justify the effort to re-implement analytics, pay-wall, and ads?

Very often it was the a saving of only a second or two. It all adds up, but as someone who works with resource strapped publishes thats not worth the resources. Thats especially true when I could have spent all that time optimizing our regular pages instead of this other project.

Why do people think AMP is faster? Pre-caching by Google.

The thing is Google (IMHO) could pre-cache regular web pages too. They don't. They don't even issue guidelines on how to make your site cache friendly, they insist on this whole specification/implementation and insist on hosting it remotely and create all sorts of barriers.

I have a different take. It's not that you can't do normal HTML as fast as AMP. It's that by preventing a lot of the things that make "normal" sites slow, it changes the whole conversation at publishing companies.

For example, here is an example conversation at a web company before AMP (and this is not really hypothetical - I had more than a few conversations like this):

Marketers: We need you to add these 623 tracking pixels from these 300 ad networks to the page.

Developers: But that will kill page performance!

Marketers: But you guys are smart, make it work!

And after AMP:

Marketers: We need you to add these 623 tracking pixels from these 300 ad networks to the page.

Developers: Get bent. AMP doesn't allow that, and without AMP our SEO positioning will tank.

Marketers: Oh, OK.

And in a world where Google isn't malicious:

Marketers: We need you to add these 623 tracking pixels from these 300 ad networks to the page.

Developers: Get bent. If we add tracking pixels our SEO positioning will tank.

Marketers: Oh, OK.

This is a wishful thinking counterfactual. No major search engine ever weighed obscene numbers of tracking pixels or heavy page weight very high in their SEO algo.

I'm not saying Google doesn't have perverse incentives (and with AMP, they do). But it wasn't fixed before Google and AMP is one of the counterweights to web ads + tracking beacon overload.

> This is a wishful thinking counterfactual.

Well, yes, I did say that.

> in a world

It might be a naive question, but: in the first case, can't you say that's impossible? Show them a competitor's website with a shitload of tracking to demonstrate the difference?

It does help. Depends on the people involved.

Why does every network need a separate pixel? Is the value sell the third-party tracking across domains or something? I don't understand why you can't just have one pixel and have everything fan out to multiple services server side.

You can, but it’s not universal and it requires more dev effort. Also many of these services provide different ways of covering their own unique metric.

> Why do people think AMP is faster? Pre-caching by Google.

This is a huge part of it. It is not unusual for an HTML page to load faster than an AMP version when loaded directly by a browser ( render blocking on the 3rd party amp JS bits can result in it taking longer to start rendering ).

The part that often allows AMP to win is that Google caches it to their own CDN and Chrome will pre-fetch it from there. What is interesting about that is that none of that has anything directly to do with format/spec of AMP pages.

The reason prefetching is particularly difficult to do for regular pages is the privacy implications. The act of preloading the page is a network event that is observable by the server serving that page.

If the server is the same as the linking page, for example Google search result -> Google Cache, there is no new information transmitted. That server already knows the user did query X and it knows that the page was going to fetch cache page Y, since the query page X instructs the browser to do so.

If the server is distinct from the linking page, for example Google search result -> https://healthsite.example/, then the browser will make a request to the healthsite server without the user having clicked the result. The healthsite server will learn the IP of the user, and some information about the query from which page is loaded, all without the user ever "visiting" that site. This is a major privacy violation.

AMP Pages solve this by a) being loaded from Google's cache and b) Guaranteeing no off-cache subresources will be loaded before the page is navigated to. (a) requires Google's cache to serve the page. (b) requires that the document author gives up some control over scheduling resource loading in the prefetch.

Until recently, AMP was the only game in town that could achieve this. Chrome recently shipped with Signed Exchanges, which is a network-level technology that could allow prefetching arbitrary content from a cache. This would still involve a Google cache, but does not require coordination with the document loading. Google AMP now supports this (https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2019/04/instant-loading-am...), but it would also work with non-AMP pages.

That's not really true. Anytime anyone makes claims like this, I ask for you to design a system that meets 3 requirements:

1. Can serve dynamic content

2. Doesn't leak any user data or metadata to a third party before they explicitly consent (in other words, executing a search on Google shouldn't ping cnn.com, this makes things like link rel=preload not work).

3. Allows caching pages client side for "instant" loading

I've challenged a few users this way, and they always construct something virtually equivalent to amp.

> The whole marketing aspect behind AMP is that its fast. This is the narrative that has sucked most publishers in. It is also not true (to the degree you think).

I think what has sucked most publishers in is the belief that if they don't play ball and implement AMP, they'll suffer in Google's rankings.

Google has said over and over that AMP is not a ranking factor. If someone could definitively prove that it's not, I think publishers would be less likely to bow down to AMP. If someone could definitively prove that it _is_, then we'd have evidence of Google both lying and promoting their own technology.

Of course the "Top Stories" carousel _is_ an unfair advantage for those who use AMP -- more people just need to call out Google on this. It should either be renamed "Top AMP stories" or they should not prevent non-AMP stories from appearing in it.

You can't securley pre-cache regular pages while still doing analytics and ads, which I understand publishers feel are important.

> The thing is Google (IMHO) could pre-cache regular web pages too. They don't.

AMP is a defense against the increasing noise about copyright violation by including snippets and caching. It lets them say "But, Your Honor, they provided an AMP version knowing that it's intended specifically for this purpose."

The reason why we have AMP in the first place is that normal news websites are unusable. The extra caching/preloading it enables is a bonus, but the main benefit comes from AMP websites not being as shitty as regular sits.

It's pretty easy to make usable web sites with regular HTML, and it's almost certainly possible to make just as shitty AMP sites. However, AMP solved the political/bureaucratic problem by providing a strong carrot to make a non-shitty version of the web site, and made it easier to make a non-shitty one than a shitty one.

The publishers already have to spend time remaking their web site, and the goal they get provided with is "keep it simple and lightweight", and doing shitty things is made hard/expensive. So they grumble and do it, getting it mostly right. (Although they seem to have realized the "potential" and started shittifying the AMP pages too).

They could have a normal experience that is very similar. Yet, they still serve the non-AMP, ad- and tracker-laden main page that takes 20x as long to load, jumps around while doing so, and tries to blast you with an autoplaying video that remains stuck to your screen while you scroll.

I don't get the hate for AMP - it somehow succeeded in the impossible quest to get publishers to make less shitty web sites, and it does improve user experience by preloading the pages.

It's just like with the "acceptable ads" program - some web sites participating in it serve significantly less shitty ads to people who only allow "acceptable ads", while serving a worse version _of the same ad_ to everyone else.

So maybe, to answer your question: Build a standard (or extend the AMP standard) that works just like this, but is enforced by the browser. Much harder to do and unlikely to get enough momentum/incentive to actually succeed, though.

The problem with AMP is not that it limits what website creators can do. The problem is that everything is served via Google's servers and that you can have a perfectly optimized, mobile-friendly website and still have no chance in Google's search results because there is a similar result that uses AMP.

One thing I don’t understand here is whether AMP = google?

I hate privacy abuse as much as anyone, but I thought it was a standard for less insane HTML pages that any “renderer” could show. Didnt cloudflare etc do this?

Basically can someone ELI5 where the actual hate comes from (aside from being annoyed because you use google search)? Because I am all for news sites being anything other than what we get today (20mb of js ads and tracking crapware etc)

edited for clarity in my questions

Let's say I make a page for my site that loads in 100ms in the average browser. The AMP page for some other site loads in 100ms too. In a sane world, these would have the same hope of appearing in search results. In the real world, my site will receive a ding in search ranking, even though it's just as fast. My choice is either to be less visible, or make an AMP page for no reason and cede some control to Google (well, Bing as well I suppose, but it's really Google's game here).

> still have no chance

Is that proven? I highly doubt it.

For the first few years, the carousel at the top of the results page was restricted to AMP content. They changed that recently after backlash (and likely legal questions) but they still appear to weight AMP more than page load time.

Google still requires AMP for the articles carousel:

"The Top stories carousel requires that your content be published in AMP. For more information, see AMP with structured data." https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/mark-up-con...

I talked about this and more here: https://unlikekinds.com/article/google-amp-page-speed

The problem is that publishers do not have a ton of dev resources. Now there are spending time implementing and fixing AMP pages instead of optimizing their regular pages.

I would stress that amongst most publishers they are focused on the UX experience now unlike they were a few years back (but yeah, there is no shortage of bad news sites still).

Its a little bit of a bitter pill that Google, responsible for all the ads and ultimately the shitty ad experience, invents a new format to restrict publishes from implementing the shitty ad experience that Google allows, and then gets the publishers to built it.

"AMP for Ads" makes sense. AMP in general does not.

Google Ads can be implemented in a reasonable way. It doesn't need to be a horrible experience. Greed has made them integrate 5000 other networks and they're the reason adblock is on the rise. I'd wager display ads would have much better return if they weren't abused for years.

That being said, it is the fault of these publishers to under invest in developers. It's like not investing in the printing press.

All of those networks run through Google's ad infrastructure and is allowed and encouraged by Google's ad policies. Publishers have the least control over the ads that run.

True, but you have little control over the ads load and what they try do do.

Bad actors are usually flagged manually and there are typical a ton of genuine mistakes that happen (someone loads unoptimized images etc)

A AMP-like framework would catch that.

> Build a standard (or extend the AMP standard) that works just like this, but is enforced by the browser.

uMatrix and NoScript do a rather coarse-grained version of this, as you can configure them to block JS by default (and whitelist some domains, eventually default-allowing JS served from the same domain as the page, or one of the subdomains.)

But when you tell someone their website doesn't work without JS, most of the time they either ignore it or tell you it's 2019 and you shouldn't disable JS.

I've spent a month with uMatrix misconfigured so that it was disabled by default on websites. The internet turned into a horrific bloated mess.

How do these sites survive when it takes 30 seconds load the page (which freezes your browser) and then takes another 20 seconds to find the content hidden between creepy ads from ecommerce sites you recently visited?

The last time I remember the internet being this horrible was the search engines back in 1999 and that was quickly fixed when Google came along.

>> Build a standard (or extend the AMP standard) that works just like this, but is enforced by the browser.

>uMatrix and NoScript do a rather coarse-grained version of this

What about something like: window.MAX_ALLOWED_JS_STATEMENTS == 1.mio ? User could set this value in settings for each domain/subdomain. Developers could decide based on that value what should be executed and what not.

I'm not a frontend dev, but isn't this kind of variability across environment exactly what frontend devs loath? It may be even harder to properly test than checking multiple browsers.

>but the main benefit comes from AMP websites not being as shitty as regular sits.

I haven't had a single instance where I was happy with AMP. The very best scenario I've run into is that it's neutral, but most of the time it's an annoyance, because it forces me to constantly use desktop mode on my phone so I can actually get usable search results.

AMP is utter garbage. It's so bad that I switched search engines purely so I wouldn't get AMP results. I don't want a competing standard, because I want my search results to lead to the REGULAR WEBPAGE. You know, the one that actually works, unlike most AMP pages.

> Build a standard (or extend the AMP standard) that works just like this, but is enforced by the browser

We have a wonderful standard for documents - simple HTML.

If Google gave search juice to simple single page HTML+CSS documents with clear content that can be viewed without JavaScript, and Google gave lower ranking for shitty JavaScript based UIs for documents, that would tidy up the www greatly and be a force for goodness and accessibility and better security.

But Google are pushing thier ugly AMP solution instead.

I think this shows one clear area Google is evil: they are showing the colour of their money: advertising is far more important than content.

Try browsing with JavaScript turned off and doing a Google - so many "articles" are entirely inaccessible even though the text is shown in the Google search result.

If Google provided a search option for accessible and non-paywalled search results (zero JavaScript), I would use it. It seems obvious, but they don't: and why not?

Edit: aside: fuck gizmido: infinite reload if you disable JavaScript - that should give zero rank.

Edit 2: Does duckduckgo or any other search site allow searches for content that can be viewed without JavaScript enabled?

(And disclosure: I am a JavaScript developer, but for a complex app that we could never deliver using vanilla HTML.)

I think the simple answer to this is one that people on hn just don't like: most users like some js. Js enables better experiences (for most people) than just html and css. It also enables worse experiences.

Hard to say since users are not given the choice.

Where users are given the choice, they often choose to "disable" JavaScript on articles e.g. switching to reader mode, or choosing a browser or extensions that indirectly disable JavaScript (disabling: adverts, mouse tracking, popups, scroll triggers, advertising triggers, notifications, sound, auto-start video etc etc).

Clearly users also choose rich applications, but that is not what I was talking about here. I was talking about text articles.

> I think the simple answer to this is one that people on hn just don't like: most users like some js. Js enables better experiences (for most people) than just html and css.

You sound as if "most people", aka non-technical users, are like kids who like shiny things and cannot appreciate clean and elegant design.

You create that audience for yourself, that way.

Mobile browsers need to show a red banner above domains that are known to "significantly drain your battery". In the really bad cases even show an interstitial similar to the "This site is not secure" pages before people proceed to them.

This targets more of the performance side of problem than the tracking & privacy side, but it does assign cost and works as signaling mechanism back to publishers when they do something that harms the user experience.

> Build a standard (or extend the AMP standard) that works just like this, but is enforced by the browser. Much harder to do and unlikely to get enough momentum/incentive to actually succeed, though.

You realize that for such standard to succeed it would have to implemented by Google Chrome right? And they are definitively NOT going to do that because its against their best interest, so no I don't think that is a solution; the only slight chance would be to make AMP illegal so Google is forced to use some kind of alternative protocol.

> They could have a normal experience that is very similar. Yet, they still serve the non-AMP, ad- and tracker-laden main page that takes 20x as long to load, jumps around while doing so, and tries to blast you with an autoplaying video that remains stuck to your screen while you scroll.

I've never been blasted with an autoplaying video that stays stuck, on my phone. Is this even possible?

Definitely. It's just an HTML5 video tag with a 'position: fixed' CSS style (plus almost always some JavaScript logic).

Here's a very recent link that does it on both my phone and computer: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-no-dea...

Though I live in a rich country, I used to have "only" 500MB/month of mobile data. I could open many small text/image websites, but open one of those autoplaying videos (which sometimes serve even high definition on small screens) and my mobile data for multiple days is gone in seconds. I can only imagine how worse it must be for people in poor countries.

> I can only imagine how worse it must be for people in poor countries.

Ironically, much better because they tend to have a much better mobile infrastructure. For example, in India someone pays "less than $3 a month for unlimited free calls. With that he gets 42GB of 4G data, at 1.5GB a day, which he uses for viewing videos and for WhatsApp calls to his family and friends in the state of Bihar"


Even if you multiply that by 4 to account for purchasing power parity (with the US), that's dirt cheap for such a plan.

Or, make a service to convert those unusable news sites to tolerable.

No need for a service. Firefox comes with readability, Safari has reader mode.

The point of AMP is to AOLise the publisher for Google.

You're asking the wrong question. AMP isn't bad, Google ranking AMP pages over equally-fast non-AMP pages is bad. But Google's main goal here is to preload/render content without the content knowing it is being preloaded, so that the page appears to load instantly when the user clicks on it.

What I think actually needs to happen is a standard for deferred navigation where the UA can be told to load a bunch of resources and then choose one of them to actually navigate to (basically what AMP does). The problem here is that Google is (as we type here) actively coming up with horrible standards like signed exchanges so that they never have to send users away from their own domain, so I don't think they would be fans of a standardized system that killed AMP.

AMP is also bad, because the technical steering committee is 3/7ths Google employees[1], with the rest made up of similar platforms that use others' content, like Twitter and Pinterest.

So content-producing organisations are increasingly strong-armed into building websites the way the platforms want.

Also, having large tracts of the web built using the same small set of severely limited components means we get dull, samey websites susceptible to the same hacks or bugs where things like interactive features are much more difficult or impossible.

I wrote about this and more here: https://unlikekinds.com/article/google-amp-page-speed

[1] https://github.com/ampproject/meta-tsc/blob/master/README.md

I think a better solution would be for Google to heavily demote pages with slow load times, popup banners, notifications, etc... It would incentivize authors to deliver clean/fast pages while still leaving them freedom to design pages any way they want.

> AMP isn't bad,

No, it is clearly bad. You seem to even agree. The stated reason for creating AMP may be good, but the technology and standard itself is bad.

Like all things this is not as black and white as you'd think. AMP as a web-components toolkit is actually fairly nice and I totally get the flip side of why people think it's dangerous.

> AMP as a web-components toolkit is actually fairly nice

It is? What do you like about it? What does it help you do more easily?

AMP is in no way necessary to build "user-first" fast loading pages.

AMP was created to allow aggregators to ensure they could cache and serve content without the user leaving the portal.

As publishers are desperate for the traffic, they have adopted AMP to make the aggregators happy.

The user is never given a choice, they just end up stuck with a cached AMP page and confused about how to reach the publisher's real website.

This "user-first" framework is really more "user-last"

Add an option in adblocking software that automatically redirects to the real article. I imagine there’s a fairly big overlap between users of adblocking software and users that dislike amp.

Start with this http://ampletter.org/

"We are a community of individuals who have a significant interest in the development and health of the World Wide Web (“the Web”), and we are deeply concerned about Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”), a Google project that purportedly seeks to improve the user experience of the Web."


No-one has mentioned the to me most obvious answer: if your employer wants to/is using AMP, heavily lobby against it. Convince other developers. Get your manager on your side. Write the CEO.

Do so with good arguments why it's a bad move, not with "omg Google is evil".

Do the same thing as a user: if you are using a site that has AMP deployed, write them. Them them why it's bad for them and for their users, and how this pushes you to other alternatives.

That requires having a reason to oppose AMP beyond generalized dislike of Google.

Start with this http://ampletter.org/

The very first reason it gives is nonsense. Your boss will probably laugh at you if not fire you.

"AMP keeps users within Google’s domain and diverts traffic away from other websites for the benefit of Google."

No, it keeps users within the link aggregator's domain, whether that is Google, Bing, Baidu, or a link aggregator made by a third party. The publisher is OK with this because it makes loading from all of those link aggregators instant, just like when they publish for Apple News; but in this case, they can publish once and support multiple aggregators.

As someone who works for publishers, no, we were not happy about this at all and it did pull readers from our sites.

> no, we were not happy about this

Compared to Apple News? It serves the same purpose but gives more control to publishers.

Write to Apple and plead the case properly, framing it as a privacy/tracking issue, which it is. They recently took a lot of steps to safeguard users’ privacy. If they kill it by embedding a de-amp’er in safari, the incentive and ROI to keeping amp pages drops quite a bit. Help your Android-using acquaintances set up Firefox.

I'm pretty sure you Google can sue Apple if they add a de-AMP feature to Safari on anti competitive grounds.

There's a fair amount of interest in the US Congress to entertain antitrust conversation around Google, Facebook, etc.

Find some way to get a charismatic US Senator spun up about AMP.

Not personally recommended, but...

AMP pages are hosted on a google.com uri. Get some kind of controversial content up on an AMP page, and start a grassroots "OMG, Google is hosting this bad content via AMP" campaign going with some tech-ignorant group. Maybe works better if AMP is fronting some other Google controlled user-content domain.

We could probably push to categorize google.com as spam/dangerous

Conspiracy theory: most of the problems AMP solves were already solved by Google Reader, but it was hard to sell ads on that... so they killed it 2/3 years before introducing AMP to beg the solution and swoop in with AMP.

I think eliminating the demand is the ultimate way.

The "promise" of AMP is fast delivery of the page and ease of use on mobile devices.

Once we (as in "content creators" or whatever) start building our sites that way, AMP will get used less and less.

And that has started. Checkout ThoughtCo from DotDash



One side-effect is AMP now provides a reason not to do anything about your regular crappy pages.

Big thumbs up! Looks great on mobile and works very well. I think I will drop them a line and congratulate them later on their efforts. Maybe others should do so, too.

> Once we (as in "content creators" or whatever) start building our sites that way, AMP will get used less and less

That is the sad part and why it needs to die - it won't stop. Google prioritizes their own system regardless of your work.

They aren't mutually exclusive, though. Even if AMP died, if reading / clicking thru to your web site is a bad experience (slow loads, lots of ads, autoplay of video that's unrelated to the article, clickbait links loaded by partners, etc) these are all friction against users returning and weigh on your site's reputation. If all of the players in the space use the same tactics, users will gladly migrate towards lower friction environments.

Users click whatever google tells them to. If that's AMP, there is no chance for other players.

Even if your website isn't up to the ridiculous speed standards of some tests, do yourself a favour and remove AMP. Your content and website are more important than 2 seconds shaved off the load speed. And start using smarter monetising techniques, not just stupid PPV/PPC ads.

By creating a extension which blocks AMP, for ourselves. But, if we really need to destroy AMP from internet. Unfortunately it is not really possible, unless if you have enough money to buy Google.

Probably the only useful way to fight Google is to promote non-Google controlled web browsers with adblockers.

Seems like a reasonable solution on desktops, but where I see AMP the most is on mobile.

I don't think it's possible to block AMP in Safari on iOS.

Actually it is possible. It doesn't have to done on client-side. You can do it via DNS settings with Pi-Hole on your network, or create your own private tunnel with Pi-Hole. After that, you need to block subdomains with amp.. Or even you can create your own iOS app for it, and yes it is also possible.

Great idea. Do you have more info on how this can be done with the Pi-hole? I have been wanting to set one up already anyway.

Can you give me a high level overview of what your motivation is for destroying AMP? I'm not trying to troll. I really would like to know.

This is a relevant overview http://ampletter.org/

Start here: http://ampletter.org/

I don't, but i am asking how it can be done. I see it increasingly more online and i wonder if one day it will seize the entire web. If it can't be stopped, that's a problem

So, if I understand correctly, you want to destroy something, but have no reason other than that someday it may become too popular?

Yes, like how i want to destroy Ebola

Do you want to kill JavaScript too? It also took over the web.

Javascript is an open technology. AMP is open only in theory

Who doesn't want to kill that security, privacy, performance nightmare?

Most people, actually.

>I see it increasingly more online and i wonder if one day it will seize the entire web. If it can't be stopped, that's a problem

How would it be unstoppable?

Google isn't a government. They don't own or control the web, nor do they have the force of law or men with guns pointed at web developers, forcing them to use AMP. It's no more likely to "seize the entire web" than ActiveX or Silverlight.

> They don't own or control the web,

Really? name a long tail website that doesn't SEO for google

Not every site on the web is a business that's concerned with SEO... and claiming that Google controls the visibility of online businesses is not a claim that they control the web.

And they don't even really control the visibility of online businesses, so much as have outsized influence over it. It's possible to run a business and not be the first search result on Google, and other search engines do exist, as well as other venues for advertisement and promotion.

you didn't name one though

Well, I'd like to see it gone for the simple reason that many sites and blogs (especially those run by not very webtech inclined people) are using it simply because they saw somewhere that it "increases page load speed", and "that's important".

It's not important, 2 or even 5 more seconds of load speed is irrelevant (and you probably don't want the visitors who can't wait 5 seconds anyway) for good content, and you lose most of your control over your own stuff.

Stop playing into the hands of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, et al

As a user, I go to the trouble of clicking the original link after entering an AMP site. Not much because I think it will make a dent in the access statistics, but because I really hate the experience.

As a coder, if I'm honest, money speaks louder, unfortunately. If they pay me I'll do it, as others obviously do, but that's something we could have a hand on changing collectively.

> As a coder, if I'm honest, money speaks louder, unfortunately. If they pay me I'll do it, as others obviously do

Agreed. The company I work for is doing AMP and are getting real business value from it.

As such money does speak louder and if the users of our product are engaging with it more because of AMP, why would we go against it?

Philosophical reasons aren't enough. To give people and companies a reason to oppose AMP you'd need to frame the reasons in a way that includes business considerations.

> I work for is doing AMP and are getting real business value from it.

Do you have an idea how are they monetizing the extra traffic. And how much more traffic is it? If google is strongarming people to use amp, isnt that fundamentally breaking net neutrality?

What value are they getting other than being ranked higher?

That’s an extremely compelling reason in itself.

If you're a U.S. voter, vote for Elizabeth Warren (https://elizabethwarren.com/) in the Democratic primary and then in 2020. She's pledged to break up companies that abuse their position as both the platform and the product. Once we have a congress and executive branch that are amenable to actually enforcing anti-trust laws in office, then make your case that allowing Google to operate AMP servers and prioritize ranking sites that use it is a bad thing.

Without regulation, I'm fairly convinced the big tech companies will continue to find ways to abuse their power.

At best, google will break out of alphabet. The problem remains. Warren is indeed the most likely to fight google's dominance, but i m afraid regulation will only make it worse for their competitors.

What I'm most hoping she tries to do is break Android out of Google. Google owning the app store and forcing their products onto peoples phones with magical root powers that other apps don't have is one of the bigger problems I have with Android and its ecosystem. But we'll see; fingers crossed that the political will exists to actually do something and that she can leverage it.

Maybe not the easiest, but certainly the most elegant way, is to social engineer the whole society to make "google-free" a really cool thing.

To me it looks as if AMP is on the edge of being legal in terms of antitrust law. Even if Google doesn't admit to it, I bet they prefer AMPed sites in the ranking. The AMP icon might be another thing that makes it difficult with regard to legal considerations. This might be one of its major weaknesses.

If you make many web pages that do not require JavaScript, CSS, and many images or videos, then that also improves the speed, and is better for accessibility.

For other cases you do need some scripts and stuff, I have suggested a "widget" attribute nd <widget> element. Both <script> and <widget> elements support the widget attribute. If recognized by the browser and enabled by the user, then the element and its contents are replaced by something implementation-dependent (and not necessarily representable in normal HTML). Otherwise, a <widget> element acts like <span>. This also improves speed, as it can skip loading a script if it has its own version, and possibly also use a native code version specific to the browser or an extension. It also allows better user customization, for example if a special text editing widget is used on the web page (rather than a normal <textbox>), then it can be replaced with one that has vi or emacs key bindings, or to implement it without animations if the user wants to implement that script without animations.

The other alternative, for stuff that doesn't need HTML and HTTP, is to use Gopher. Then, no need to consider what kind of user interface is used and any other kind of accessibility; it already is!

Don't destroy it, embrace it. AMP is the low-javascript web many of us pine for. If browsers implemented AMP natively (and it were properly standardized), it would be great, and it has tons of potential for things like RSS readers. Google's heavy-handedness here has a lot of problems, but if they've managed to get publishers on board with a move away from the JS quagmire we should be pushing in the same direction and not fighting against it.

AMP still includes javascript that does many retarded things, including hiding the site contents until the JS is loaded, often from 3rd party CDNs. So if you're blocking the amp JS then the site just shows a blank screen, until some CSS animation trickery blends it in a few seconds later.

In other words if you use a content blocker AMP can be slower than the page would be without it.

AMP hides the entire page to avoid what is known as a Flash of Unstyled Content (FOUC). The document unhides as soon as a single AMP javascript resource loads, or an 8s timeout if that fails. That javascript is very cacheable and is often already in the browser cache to begin with.

The page is also readable without that script and browser engines already delay the initial paint. So this is entirely unnecessary.

embrace something else. It would be lovely if it was implemented natively, disentangled from google, and without google strongarming websites to their own implementation and CDN.

They didnt win publishers because of their wonderful implementation, they are literally blackmailing them with deranking if they don't (I suppose I could use a carrot analogy but i m more suspicious)

There is so much evil that can happen if AMP becomes the de facto walled garden of the web. I imagine if that happens, then we 'll end up needing google's review before websites can even be reachable. Or a government could order google to effectively shut down a bunch of sites instantly. The current version of amp is worthy of destruction before it grows to become indestructible

Kill the adtech/surveillance industry.

AMP is an admission that the open Web has failed. The number of trackers, tag managers, popups and other crap to "monetize" pages has gone out of control and made majority of pages painful to open (at least without some crap filter, like an adblocker — or AMP).

If you manage to restore the health of the open Web, it'll be hard to sell a walled garden instead.

An important (but not the only) point to consider when answering this question: STOP expecting consumers to give a crap about nerdspeak topics or to care about hypothetical dystopian futures. Almost all users don't know or care about AMP. They just want stuff to load fast.

"Let's build sites that don't require AMP."

  *gets thrown out of the window*

To kill it you need to propose s truly open alternative that also honestly addresses some of the reasons why Google wants AMP to exist, without ceding control to Google. This probably means some system or voluntary limit on JS/HTML that can ensure fast loading.

If anyone were to propose this it’d probably be Bing or DDG.

limit javascript to 640K of memory. so easy to implement and would fix most sites. Some other things like custom fonts could be removed from mobile browsers. The rest should be OK - 2 or 3 more seconds to load a page are not important really. After all, reading an article usually takes entire minutes, so shaving off the initial 2 seconds of reading is immaterial.

> After all, reading an article usually takes entire minutes, so shaving off the initial 2 seconds of reading is immaterial.

But finding the right article to read may require browsing through many pages, and after dozens those seconds can add up.

Also the solution cannot be to restrict all JS and web pages. It needs to be an open and opt-in framework.

i d be fine with some restriction to JS. Heavy JS pages are bad for the environment and disrespectful of the time of users.

Disclaimer: I will be joining Google in a few weeks, opinions are obviously my own. Anon account because I don't know where I stand yet in this regard.

I'm one of the few people who doesn't have too much of a problem with AMP (obvious bias aside). Take this advice AMP devs who might be reading: Listen to the community, and communicate back without being condescending. A bit of humility goes a long way.

Your developer marketing over AMP is awful and you need to fix it. Not working with the tech community is causing immeasurable damage to the AMP/Google brand for the people who want to work at your company (engineers) who feel personally attacked by this.

Be careful.


If amp didn’t run things with the header on googles servers it would immediately stop being critiqued.

Here’s a ridiculously frustrating example of how it ruins the web experience I ran into yesterday:

I was looking for supplements, searching google with something like “site:reddit.com best supplement site”. Google directs you to amp reddit. All good so far.

So you find a thread full of links in comments. You scroll down and click one and it takes you off reddit. Good. Now you swipe back. What happens? You lose your scroll position entirely.

In a huge reddit thread full of links you literally are re-scrolling the page over and over as you try different ones.

It completely breaks the web. From the company that literally should be the champion of the web. It’s so backwards and hostile to the platform it’s hard to fathom what they are thinking. Amp could easily achieve all its goals by not forcing that stupid frame, and by letting it be hosted anywhere (google can monitor if they are using a decent CDN based on simple heuristics).

Your employer should move AMP widgets into the browser , completely scrap the google CDN from it, and stop prioritizing amp pages.

This seems like an anti-trust issue.

AMP itself is not the problem. It is actual one possible solution to the problem of heavy slow pages.

The problem is that it is tied to Google.

We don't need to destroy it, we need to make it into an open standard that all browsers and search engines can implement for the same benefits.



An open standard that includes rules like "your page must include this Google controlled JS url which will contain whatever we want".

That pretty much kills the "open" bit.

Agree, but technically if the spec is well-defined browsers can recognize that JS URL as a magic string instead of actually loading that JS, sorta like how browsers don't actually go to w3c.org when they see an HTML 4.01 doctype.

Perhaps the right place is to lobby the WHATWG for an explicit exception in the definition of the script tag to handle these ampproject.org URLs in an API-compatible way.

That appears to be how it works. Here's an AMP page served from Bing's cache. No resources are loaded from Google. view-source:https://www.bing.com/amp/s/amp.azcentral.com/amp/1912438001

If you don't load the js, the amp specific tags don't work. So, for example, no images.

I mean that browsers should implement support for the AMP-specific tags directly, without needing to load the JS to do so. If the AMP spec is complete, then this should theoretically be possible.

Why would you want to destroy AMP? AMP is Google's attempt to become the next Compuserve.

Just keep doing your own thing and let Google turn itself into a platform for idiots.

So that another company can replace them?

Stupid question. I have been using Google Search on my work computer for the past year or so, but I haven't seen any changes to any of the sites I've visited. I use firefox with ublock origin everywhere. Do either of these prevent AMP from loading? or is it so subtle that I don't notice it?

It's easy: convince a huge majority of the publications that produce actual content people want to read to start making their websites fast, lightweight, and cacheable. Then there will be no need for AMP.

Until you can accomplish that, destroying amp will only make the internet worse.

I would rather have slightly slower websites than Google control even more of the web.

Yeah, but you aren't everybody. That attitude doesn't accomplish anything.

Google gains control by finding problems and solving them their way. You can't gain that control back by dismissing those problems. if you want to reduce Google's control you have to solve a problem (that affects other people, not just you) before they do, or in a better way than they can.

I don't really agree here.

Solving a problem has never been justification for a solution that brings even more.

For example, an totalitarian dictatorship would solve a ton of problems with the US political system today. But that doesn't make it an acceptable solution.

When your solution brings more harm than it resolves, it's better not to have it in the first place.

You can lobby against it in the same fashion there was a small campaign against infinite scrolling portals.

Also you can create an extension for yourself which rewrites the URL and opens the slow version of the same page.

At the end everyone is free, for the good or for the bad.

Come up with a news aggregation service that's not necessarily Apple news to compete with news.google?

Does this require lawyers and negotiations with publishers?


news addict

Make a browser extension to de-amp links?

If only this was possible on Safari mobile.

You can always buy a Google phone to get away from AMP...

You can’t because “everyone else is using it, so we can’t be the only ones not” style thinking.

I love how you all just walked blithely right into the open jaws of this. Naysayers just a year or two ago were getting downvoted to hell on here. Now you've gotten the taste of the acid in the first stomach, and you think there's a way to climb back out. You don't seem to be grasping monopolistic companies as the ruminants they are.

I've switched to bing search as an experiment, that's basically how you kill AMP

Unfortunately Bing also implements AMP. :/

i use bing and yandex for my image searches every time. google images is rubbish

AMP can be great for us, if they would fix the implementation.

Easy. Just destroy Google. Done.

I wonder if it is sufficient to fire the people at Google who work on AMP. Is management actually invested in AMP enough to re-staff it, or are they merely okay with it?


Ability to destroy should never be confused with desire to destroy. Sometimes they overlap, most often times they do not.

edited to add links and further comments.

I didn't know what it was, so I did a quick search and found this rosy picture painted in 2016. https://www.hallaminternet.com/what-is-amp-and-who-actually-...

and here is a Register Link decrying it as worst thing ever. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/19/open_source_insider...

Sorry man, I was just referencing joker from the dark knight for humour :-/

(1) The political attack: Google is increasingly coming under fire for being a monopolist. Such attacks could lead to the demise of or restrictions being put on AMP.

(2) The technical attack: kill the web as we know it. The idea here is that the web is hopelessly corrupted by the entanglement of text with code (e.g. Javascript,) the advertising-based business model, pop-ups, etc. A particular sign of this is "scanning" behavior where you go to Google News or Hacker News or your round of daily blogs and hit "reload" to see what is new. This has multiple insidious effects on the human nervous system, one is that some of your attention is used to suppress content that you've seen before, which lowers your working IQ.

It may sound like science fiction, but I think we need to replace the web browser with an intelligent agent which can "scan" content for us and only show us what is new, interesting, non-toxic, etc.

>It may sound like science fiction, but I think we need to replace the web browser with an intelligent agent which can "scan" content for us and only show us what is new, interesting, non-toxic, etc.

Your cure is worse than the disease.

At the moment, I can choose to use AMP or not, can choose to use Javascript or not, and can choose to publish whatever I like to the web, and whomever wants to can read it.

Your solution would appear to require me to only publish static documents which are "new, interesting, non-toxic, etc," under some arbitrary and proprietary guidelines, because that's all people would (or should) be allowed to see.

No thank you. I'd rather have freedom from all of the gatekeepers of web culture, be they FAANG or contrarian hackers.

"I think we need to replace the web browser with an intelligent agent which can "scan" content for us and only show us what is new, interesting, non-toxic, etc"

NNTP at least you can scan what is new, and other criteria you can program yourself (it can't automatically know what is interesting, so you will have to program in your own criteria for that).

Be careful with that thinking. The web is truly open (thank you TBL). Any other ‘smart’ app platform is a golden chain ( well , silver or aluminum, depending on app sales)

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