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How to fight back against Google AMP as a web user and a web developer (markosaric.com)
1238 points by markosaric on Dec 5, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 539 comments

I worked on amp for a leading newspaper, and everyone who says that amp is about "making the web faster on mobile" is either very naive or doing marketing for google.

For publishers, amp is about trying to top the results on google search and capture traffic, it's their only motivation to publish their content using amp, and the only metric they look in order to evaluate the results.

Once they have their amp content, they will look how to load it with ads and tracking, which very conveniently is supported on amp, just as they do in their regular sites.

So the "fast" part, besides using their CDN, actually comes from limiting what you can do on almost every other part of the site, you can only do the stuff that is packed in the amp components controlled by google, which in practice means that google controls the web behavior.

Of course AMP has other motives than simply making the web faster for mobile, but it also does make the web faster for mobile. I guarantee the AMP version of that paper's mobile website provided a significantly better user experience than the normal version. That is why AMP has been successful, and it's why I will continue to click on AMP links whenever available.

Is giving Google that much control ideal? Of course not, but from a user perspective it's a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

> but it also does make the web faster for mobile.

AMP probably help making some previously bad-written amd bloated websites less slow, but it doesn't make them fast either.

HN is a fast website. The old reddit was a reasonably fast website. The new reddit (with AMP) is slower on my phone than the old one. It's still faster than the worst websites I browse on mobile, but it's far from being the fastest, and it's one of the slowest I actually use on my phone (simply because I usually don't browse websites that are too slow).

AMP isn't about speed.

> it also does make the web faster

this is true

> That is why AMP has been successful

This is not. If google removes ranking incentive, people will forget about AMP the next day

> it also does make the web faster

No, it is not. Optimized plain old webpages are faster.

If Google wants to promote faster pages then amp should not be promoted in the search results.

It is about capturing traffic, injecting tracking and ads.

>> That is why AMP has been successful

>This is not. If google removes ranking incentive, people will forget about AMP the next day

Google giving ranking incentive to sites that are faster seems like the exact sort of thing they should be doing.

> Google giving ranking incentive to sites that are faster seems like the exact sort of thing they should be doing.

Yes. It should give ranking incentive based on actual speed, not AMP support.

> Google giving ranking incentive to sites that are faster seems like the exact sort of thing they should be doing.

Really? I thought Google's purpose was to find information in the web, not to give me fast links. If I am looking for an article, I want that article, not a different but faster one. If I am looking for a piece of information, I want the best fit, not the second or third best but faster fit.

> find information in the web

This has not been true for more than a decade. The primary use case of the Internet today is to connect users with service providers of all stripes, and not just information repositories.

For most of these, the quality of service is more correlated with their "speed".

Information delivered slowly is less useful than information delivered quickly[1]. If there are 5 takes on an AP-wire article I want google to give me a fast site over a bloated slow site. The finer points of how they get to a fast site don't particularly matter to me.

[1] One of the nicer features of HN is that it is snappy and responsive - ime the polar opposite of many non-AMP news sites.

> If there are 5 takes on an AP-wire article I want google to give me a fast site over a bloated slow site.

I'd want Google to give me the accurate, well-researched site. When the difference between "fast" and "slow" is a matter of seconds (or often milliseconds), I'm not sure why better information delivered a few seconds later should be ranked lower.

Slower sites should be ranked lower for the same reason a dictionary that isn't alphabetized is less useful than one that is and both are less useful than dictionary.com. I'd rather have Webster than Oxford if Oxford will take twice as long and I'd rather not have urbandictionary.com over either -- hence a weighting.

Moreover that even if google could give me the canonical result[0] to my query its likely I will need to visit and view several sites to get the information I am searching for - information I will obtain faster when the sites are faster.

[0]Any ranking will be probabilistic and in all likelihood for common topics there will be multiple candidates within the expected error - why is it so great a sin to order them by accessibility?

Google already incorporates site speed into their rankings, separate from AMP.

However, if you want to get into Google's mobile carousel above the normal search results, you have to serve AMP pages and let Google cache them.

Except that it's now giving a huge boost to websites that use a specific technology to be fast; instead of just boosting all fast websites like it used to. Sites can be fast even if they don't use AMP.

Heck, sites can be faster if they don't use AMP. Sure, most sites aren't, but it's certainly doable. AMP, aside from Google caching your site on the SRP, doesn't really do anything crazy when it comes to site performance.

But speed results in better ranking, and that's what amp provides.

No, AMP provides space on a top carousel of results.

It may also do that, sure. But you're telling me it does not provide speed improvements?

Install a content blocker, and the original site sans bullshit is the best experience.

Ironically the amp page is artificially slow when blocking amp’s JS because they force an 8 second delay - via required boilerplate css - before content is visible.

You misunderstand the 8 second CSS animation in the AMP boilerplate. Here's the code (simplified):

    body { animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both}
    @keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}
    <style amp-boilerplate>
See the noscript section: if javascript is disabled, the CSS displays the body immediately. If Javascript is enabled, but for some reason the AMP javascript fails to load, after 8 seconds, the page is displayed anyway. When the AMP Javascript loads (a single js file, one request, typically already in the users cache), the javascript displays the page immediately. The page is probably somewhat broken without the javascript loading, but the 8s is a fallback, not code to slow down non-javascript browsers.

The only two cases where the 8s is relevant are: the network connection is so bad that the javascript file fails to load within 8s and the useragent has explicitly blocked the one javascript file on the page, without blocking javascript overall.

The 8-second delay is there to punish users who block JavaScript that is loaded from Google's servers (with ad-blockers) but still have JavaScript enabled.

I think that's a bit unnecessarily tin-foil-hat. If they didn't put in the 8 second css rule it would just show blank for those users right? So adding that rule is making it work at all instead which doesn't sound like "there to punish them".

Why is there an eight second delay instead of, say, an 0.8 second delay? Or no delay at all?

I mean, if the goal is to make the page display only once it's fully loaded, and the point of amp is to make pages load quickly, eight seconds seems gratuitous. Even slow sites load within eight seconds.

(I don't deliberately use any Google products, so I'm completely unfamiliar with amp.)

Reasonable question.

Until the javascript has loaded (a single cacheable javascript file: https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js ), the browser can't lay out the resources on the page (images for example).

If the browser rendered the page before layout, it would likely look pretty bad. Then when the javascript arrived, the document would layout again moving elements around. This is typically referred to as the "Flash of Unstyled Content" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_of_unstyled_content) and is considered by some to be a negative user experience. Many web pages outside AMP take a similar approach to hiding the content until the layout has completed.

The 8 second CSS animation is only present as an "escape hatch" in case the javascript never loads. The specific value was chosen as a time that probably indicates the javascript will never load. Note that if javascript is disabled entirely, the page is rendered immediately via the <noscript> tag. There has been a discussion around changing the 8 second time to something shorter ( https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/issues/22543 ), though it could probably be renewed.

It's the other way around -- AMP pages show a blank page for 8 seconds for people with ad-blockers because of that CSS rule.

The behavior you describe occurs if the useragent blocks the URL https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js which does not have anything to do with ads or analytics.

Certainly an ad blocker can be used to block any URL, but I don't know of any that block this one by default. If there are any, let me know and I'm happy to file issues to get that fixed!

If a user chooses to block this particular resource which the page needs to load, then the page still loads after 8s.

Similarly, if the site owner chooses, they can run the AMP Toolbox optimizer (https://www.npmjs.com/package/@ampproject/toolbox-optimizer) which lays out the page server-side and removes this CSS flash for most documents. Some documents can't be laid out until the viewport size is known.

People who block JS by default but who don't want to completely turn off JavaScript encounter that 8-second delay. (I'm using "ad-blocker" loosely -- it refers to any kind of tool that blocks ads and tracking. On my computer, it's blocked at the hosts level in addition to an add-on.)

Some people don't want to load resources from Google's servers, and they shouldn't be punished for it. That JS file isn't needed for AMP pages to load. People don't need to load JS to read text and view images. I don't think there is any reasonable argument to have any users hit an 8-second delay.

Without the Javascript file, the images will not load. AMP loads images using a custom element <amp-img> which has performance benefits such as lazy loading of images until they are close to the visible viewport and guaranteeing a stable layout that will not cause the elements on the page to jump around. The downside is that until Javascript is loaded, these images are not available to the browser.

Not seeing images is better than not seeing the page at all. People who block content know that things sometimes don't load. There is no reason to block loading of the pages for 8 seconds.

You're probably not their target audience anyway (read ad money stream) so they don't really care if you have to wait on content or don't see it at all. Google et. al. just see you as a parasite on the system.

It seems like the AMP delay is there to punish people who block that JavaScript loading from Google's servers. I can't think of another reason why there would be an 8-second delay for any user of a technology that (dubiously) is supposed to be about speed.

Couldn't this be solved by the adblockers by injecting some JS to change this?

I solve it with a browser extension that redirects AMP to HTML, but that solution might not last forever.

One problem is that Google wants AMP to replace HTML. I've already seen AMP pages in the Google search results (on desktop), and at least one large website so far appears to be built entirely in AMP.[1]

Google already sends desktop users to Wikipedia's mobile site from some of their listings, so I wouldn't be surprised if Google eventually starts to send desktop users to AMP pages. Google benefits when people visit AMP sites, because Google will be able to spoof the domains and serve the content themselves, giving them increased control over publishers.

[1] independent.co.uk, but they removed the CSS that delays page loading.

there's a good reason for that because if you don't google can track you everywhere by IP, or at least have a reasonable guess that it's you or someone in your house.

The AmpProject is without question controlled by Google, so I reject your claim that it "does not have anything to do with ads or analytics".

The company is an advertising company. If 90+% of your revenue comes from one thing, that's what you are. Anything else is a gimmick.

That tech fanboys continue to ignore or refute this fact about Google just shows how much Kool aid they've consumed, I assume by skipping the drinking part and going straight to Kool Aid baths and Kool aid enemas.

Blocking third party resources on a site is not a "bug" that needs to be "fixed".

This will hit a lot of people on the web today that have given up on a blanket block on JS (because a lot of pure text content simply fails to render without JS, yaaaaay) but do have a blanket blacklist on JS assets and whitelist requests on a need basis.

As intended. We desperately need some anticompetitive scrutiny on google.

Unfortunately... https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=d000067823

Source for your second paragraph: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16730905

That's out of date now, though; despite still being part of the required boilerplate CSS for AMP pages, I can't find that delay in any of the https://amp.dev/ pages (the ampbyexample.com replacement demo site).

This is really shady.

It's a little more complex than that:

If you disable all js, there is no delay. If you specifically block amp js, there is a delay. There could certainly be a shady reason for this, but the justification makes sense: one of the goals of AMP is to have, basically, a single, correct, initial paint. That's why images are statically sized and amp sticks placeholders there until the real images load. The js delay exists to allow the site to fetch the js and use it to correctly render the initial paint, even on a slow/flaky connection where the js takes a bit to fetch.

The delay is css based not js based, so why would blocking all js affect it?

If you tell the browser to disable execution of all <script> tags, it will instead evaluate the <noscript> tag which contains some additional CSS that disables the animation.

Ah, I didn't realise/remember it has a noscript block, it's been a while since I dug into the issue originally.

Sites which optimize their pages via https://www.npmjs.com/package/@ampproject/toolbox-optimizer have the initial layout performed server-side instead of by javascript, and thus the CSS Flash-of-unstyled-content protection is removed. amp.dev runs this optimization, along with lots of other sites.

Does it really make the web faster for mobile? I've had the exact opposite experience with it. It's made sites run much slower, broken things like dark themes, and make advertisements more intrusive. For example, I used to think the game guide/news site polygon was a horrible slow mess until I learned about amp, I was accessing it via google search, and once I excised the amp portion of the url the site became snappy and usable. The same exact thing happened to me two nights ago with SoundOnSound as well.

> a lot better than the alternative

There are more alternatives. IIRC the goal in 56k days was to make the page load inside 10 seconds. People managed.

It was probably 5 seconds, to maximize conversion. Thankfully, I haven't had to think about it for 10+ years.

HTTP/2, HTTP/3, 5G, faster mobile phones, will all make AMP inconsequential and unnecessary, unless your primary audience lives in rural areas or are not able to adopt such technologies.

Applications used to fit on a floppy disk. Websites used to be a few K in size. AMP might be successful (if it's even considered successful), but only for a short while. I avoid AMP links when I can, since I don't want the jank, stripped down experience of a site. If I really want a great experience on publishing sites, I just turn on Reader Mode.

And of course, it's preposterous that Google gives preferences to AMP pages on search rankings. It's just as if Amazon prioritizes its own products in its search rankings (not saying it does or doesn't).

Exactly, use google amp and get higher rankings and it can increase your traffic by hundreds to thousands to millions. I hate it but its how it works

Huh, weird, it's almost like they're abusing their search monopoly to push a technology that everyone hates and is only fast when compared to their ad monopoly.

> a technology that everyone hates

There are users in this thread that seem to like it quite a lot because it's faster than the original site, because it limits the amount of crap the original site can run. The only reason I don't like AMP is because I don't like an intermediary like Google rendering pages for me and probably tracking what I do on them. That's ... not even close to something on most people's radars, so there's no way "everyone" hates it for that reason.

I suspect most people have never heard of AMP and just like it when sites load fast.

Higher rankings and google will preload the amp page they have and their servers for the amp link. That's why it is a tiny bit faster. It has nothing to do with the amp spec itself. It's faster because google is abusing it's monopoly search position to pre-load.

I think the idea is that preloading wouldn't be feasible with arbitrary unrestricted HTML because of security concerns, which is why they created this restricted subset in the first place.

> google is abusing it's monopoly search position to pre-load.

How is that abusing their monopoly search position? Abusing their monopoly search position would be making publishers integrate directly with them to enable preload, like Apple News. Instead, they ask publishers to serve documents that can safely be prerendered, and all their competitors get to (and do!) consume those documents as well to enable safe prerendering from their own sites.

Without their monopoly search position no one would be forced to adopt amp and further strengthen said monopoly position.

> Without their monopoly search position no one would be forced to adopt amp

It is used by the major search engines in every major market, so yes, they would be forced to adopt AMP. Compare to Apple News, which gives the publisher even less control.

Once again, how is it abusing their monopoly position if all their competitors get to benefit from it for free?

Finally, how do you propose to enable safe prerendering on the web that you would be fine with? RSS enables the same thing but takes even more control away from the publisher, but you're presumably fine with that. Not a single person in all these AMP rant articles that pollute HN has ever proposed an alternative, with 99% of the ranters, including this one, not even understanding the basic fact that prerendering is the thing that AMP enables.

I don’t want prerendering if it comes with this attached to it. Fast pages don’t need prerendering.

Tell that to Apple, Facebook, and RSS aggregators, all of which do the same thing but worse. Whether or not you want it, I and apparently most other users do want it.

As has been mentioned before, what Apple, Facebook, and RSS aggregators are doing is quite different than what Google is: they're not purporting to be search engines.

And how is that any different? The end result is they're forcing publishers to use their format.

If you don't want Apple News formatted content, don't use the Apple News client.

The web is supposed to be an open standard.

If Google wants to go off and make Google Web a thing, where it only allows Chrome to view content hosted by some variation of *.google.com, thats their choice, but that isn't "the web".

> If you don't want Apple News formatted content, don't use the Apple News client.

If you don't want AMP content, don't click on it from Google, Bing, Yandex, Twitter, etc. Exactly the same idea.

> It only allows Chrome to view content hosted by some variation of *.google.com

That is not what AMP does. It allows browsers to safely prerender content from any link aggregator, including Bing and others. It does not change what Chrome can do. The page is just a normal HTML page served by the link aggregator's AMP cache.

Why does safe prerendering need to break URLs? Why can't the pages be safely prerendered client side?

> Why does safe prerendering need to break URLs?

Think about how you would implement safe prerendering. Can you come up with any option where the link aggregator doesn't host the page? There's your answer.

How does amp strengthen a monopoly position?

"Use AMP or your site will not be present in mobile search results" doesn't seem like monopolistic practices to you?

A priori not anymore so than otherwise downranking slow sites. The missing piece here is how using amp is beneficial to Google or harmful to consumers/other search engines to make it anticompetative.

> how using amp is beneficial to Google

You are correct, most people are leaving this out. I think an emphasis on asking why Google is pushing AMP, and whether that interest aligns with consumers, would be helpful in this thread.

Most people seem to intrinsically understand that a single browser-making ad company dictating what features a website can or can not use is about that company flexing it's muscles to control things.

Is that really not obvious to some?

> Most people seem to intrinsically understand that a single browser-making ad company dictating what features a website can or can not use is about that company flexing it's muscles to control things.

But the point made up-thread was that "controlling things" is not intrinsically bad. The problem was that (according to some users) Google was abusing a monopoly position to control things in a way that would be beneficial to itself, but harmful to others. The question the parent to my comment was asking was, beneficial to itself how? You saying that Google is "controlling things" just takes us back to where we started, but doesn't answer the question of what Google stands to gain.

Let me give an example. Suppose by "controlling things" you mean incentivizing ("""forcing""") web developers to create pages that are better because they have lighter scripts and higher security standards for third party content. (In fact, this is what some supporters say Google is doing.) I don't think most people would have a problem with that. So presumably critics have something interesting to say about what "controlling things" really means that explains why it's bad in this particular case.

> But the point made up-thread was that "controlling things" is not intrinsically bad

Well that point is wrong. If you can't see how a single, privacy abusing company having dominant control over the web is bad, I can't fucking help you.

> a single, privacy abusing company having dominant control over the web is bad

I agree that that's bad. I also don't think you (or most people in this thread) have made coherent arguments for why AMP is helping Google do that. That was the parent comment's point, and I tried to highlight that because it's downvoted.

Note that "control things" is a different claim than "having dominant control over the web". It's obvious that in some sense Google is doing the first. It's obvious that the second is bad. The issue is how you get from saying that they're doing the first thing to saying that they're doing the second thing.

Google has a monopoly position, granted. But not everything a monopolist does is bad just because they're a monopolist. Another example: one thing Google does is lower the page rank of sites that show the full content to the GoogleBot but paywall real users. I think this is great! It's an attempt to control the way publishers design websites and the way their servers respond to user agents, but the point of that control is making the web a better place. Many people feel similarly about AMP: that it's getting publishers to create faster pages that make the web a better place. Can you say why they're wrong?

It strengthens googles control over the web.

In what way though? Like that's super generic and not particularly meaningful without a more concrete explanation.

No, there's nothing like super generic about it.

Google has a de facto monopoly on site rankings, which gives it de facto editorial control over the content of the Internet down to a very fine level.

If Google decides to drop a site from search, that site loses traffic and is effectively removed from visibility.

This is not a user choice. Users do not to get to say "Well, that site is too slow for me, so I won't visit it again. And actually I don't like the content either."

It's not a site owner choice. Owners can't respond to user preferences by improving performance or offering different content.

It's a Google choice. And the reasons for Google's choices are typically opaque, largely unstated, and never negotiated directly with site owners.

It's absolutely unacceptable for a single unaccountable corporation to have this level level of control over global information infrastructure.

In fact the whole idea of generic but opaque site ranking is toxic to an open Internet, and always has been. The idea that page rank has some kind of objective user value - as opposed to monopoly value - has always been debatable.

It was tolerable conceit in the days of Alta Vista when search was a research project, and some level of good faith was assumed.

But Google has trashed that good faith by operating like a bad actor - and monopolist - in numerous ways, AMP being the most recent example.

So no - not generic. Not even close.

What you're arguing against is opaque site rankings. But what does that have to do with AMP as a technology? How does AMP enable them to have more opaque rankings than before? All the control you're talking about is something they'd have regardless of the existence of AMP.

AMP is an example of the bad faith exercising of that monopoly. Bad faith because we judge it by the negative press: there is considerable push back and controversy, yet it remains. That alone separates it from other factors like “actual page speed”, which is also used but which everyone agrees with, which is why it’s considered good faith.

No need to judge it based on its technical merit: a significant amount of people hate it, yet here it is. End of.

This is not a legal question (yet), this is a moral question. The legal [and technical] question is relevant, but not the be all end all of any discussion. People sometimes also just want to discuss how they feel. It’s relevant to get consensus about that. And people feel bad about AMP.

Yes it's true that they forced AMP despite some people not wanting it (and I think you are greatly overestimating the fraction of customers that actually care about this either way). But you know what they say, ask customers what they want and they'll say a faster horse. I don't think there's anything wrong or immoral about going against the current wishes of your customers to further the long term wishes of your customers instead.

That is much different than saying that Google is using AMP to make it easier to control results which was what the parent seemed to be implying. If this discussion is really not about AMP at all, but just about Google flexing their monopoly to do things customers don't want, then why is AMP the technology getting criticized for it? Why weren't we criticizing using SSL everywhere when Google depriortitzed non-SSL results?

It's cute that you think people either searching on Google, or people/organisations with organic results shown on Google are their "customers".

I mean it's also naive, and wrong, but it's cute too.

Give this tired quip a break. You don't have to be spending dollars to be a considered a customer, that's not what customer means.

It literally means a person who purchases something.

No sane person on the planet would consider a person using a search engine for free, "the customer". The customer is the person who buys something - in Google's case, advertising.

Right, and users of the engine aren't using it for free. They're paying in ad impressions.

Ad impressions are like shares. They're only valuable if someone is actually paying real money for them somewhere.

Traffic never leaving Google's servers seems pretty concrete.

You can self host AMP. It doesn’t have to be on google’s servers.

But the traffic coming from Google results will always view it from Google servers.

Apple isn’t running a dominant search engine that upranks Apple News results.

You're right. Apple is worse. They show only Apple News results.

But there's a difference between having a service which only shows your stuff, and having a service which apparently shows the entire internet, but subtly prefers your stuff. Most people find the latter far more questionable than the former, because if we want to find anything, we need to know where to look.

> but subtly prefers your stuff.

It prefers instant loading pages because that's what users want. If not, Bing, Yandex, Baidu, Yahoo, or any of the other search engines that also use AMP would simply rank differently to beat Google.

The things that's being discussed though is that even if your page loads in "no time" AMP will be perfered anyways, even if your page loads fast enough that the user wont notice a difference.

There is no fast enough that a user won't notice the difference between that and instant, especially due to RTT for the request. That's why I always click on results with the lightning icon, and that's what I figure enough other users do too in order for AMP pages to rank so highly. If that's not the case, the other search engines can rank differently to beat Google, as I said.

No, I'm well aware that that's what it's "about," just like I'm well aware that the search engine is mainly about advertising. I just don't care what it's about so long as the results are beneficial to me -- which they definitely are. When I see the AMP icon I know the page is going to load much faster

Always question what long term loss you are taking for these short term gains.

I really wish content servers considered that before letting all their sites become ad laden wastelands.

The web infrastructure we have today can respond to pages blindly fast if proper optimization is done, bloated front end frameworks and malvertising counter all of that to draw it down to molasses speeds - and the "I want to server my stuff to my users" argument is only valid if it's to extracting ad revenue from them - I think it's just time to reeducate people on the fact that ads may subsidize content but they can't fully sponsor it outside of niche situations.

I suspect I am not losing very much at all by preferring to click AMP links.

Are we going to lose high-quality paid by the reader content? Probably not, because that already happened to the newspapers. They were replaced by the "get a view at any cost, track the user through all means possible, it's all about eyeballs on ads" folks and now they are warning us that they might be next and we, the readers, should decline reading the low quality fast.

The long term loss for short term gains that we're already dealing with has been the page bloat over the past decade.

AMP is the solution to that long-term loss. It's not the best possible solution, but it's the best that we currently have.

Prior to AMP, the web didn't give a rat's ass about performance.

To me, AMP is annoying because it means I have to make two extra clicks to get the real site to load.

use duckduckgo! :)

> I just don't care what it's about so long as the results are beneficial to me -- which they definitely are.

Are they though? With the search engine example, how do you know that the engine is not biasing your opinion so that you act against your own self-interest and to the benefit of the advertisers?

The AMP situation is a bit more complicated, but how are you sure that AMP is beneficial to you in the broad, long-term sense?

It is quite simple. My calculation is: 1) an AMP page will load much faster 2) clicking on an AMP or non-AMP page will have nearly no effect on me in the "broad, long-term sense;" to the extent AMP more generally may adversely affect me, my own personal participation in it has pretty much no impact at all.

I invite you to go to your local Fox/ABC/CBS channel's website and TRY to read an article vs AMP.

AMP is about stopping....that. It's indescribable how horrible these companies have become.

1. Auto-playing ads 2. Scroll-jacking 3. Overlay...after overlay... after overlay. 4. Popover 5. Paywall 6. Popover again for good taste. 7. Oops you scrolled too far better redirect you to another page entirely. 8. You wanted the video version of this article right? Better force you to read the article in 20% of the screen so all of our ads, bars, and video can fit on the page.

This doesn't address those problems, it has effectively created a second, proprietary web which is only accessible from the Google home page.

If Google actually wanted to improve the web, they wouldn't be splintering it, they would reward publishers with better search placement for building user-friendly sites. As it is, AMP is little more than a way to ensure the "Google" web is better than the non-Google web. Which of course funnels money into Google's pockets.

AMP pages are just HTML. Publishers can and do use AMP pages as their "regular" pages that every user sees, not just those coming from Google. Other aggregators (Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) link to AMP versions. These pages are far from only accessible from Google queries.

Publishers can and some do, but from what I've seen, the overwhelming majority do not. The overwhelming majority of "modern" web-sites are a shit show. If that wasn't the case, there would be no need for AMP.

If they’re just HTML pages, why would I use AMP?

Because, as you have repeatedly shown you already know, AMP pages are a constrained HTML that supports safe prerendering. Why ask a question you already know the answer to?

> AMP pages are a constrained HTML that supports safe prerendering

Then they're not HTML, are they? As other commenters have pointed out, nobody is using the constrained set of AMP as their main page, precisely because it's not "just HTML". (And specifically, Google controls which subset of HTML this is.)

> Then they're not HTML, are they?

A square has four sides that are equal length. Does that make it not a rectangle?

> As other commenters have pointed out, nobody is using the constrained set of AMP as their main page

People don't use squares where they need oblong rectangles, but that doesn't mean squares are not rectangles.

> And specifically, Google controls which subset of HTML this is.

No, the technical steering committee of the AMP project at the OpenJS Foundation determines that. Most of the members of that committee do not work for Google.

> People don't use squares where they need oblong rectangles, but that doesn't mean squares are not rectangles.

You're omitting the context of that quote for trite point-scoring. If I was advertised a browser that "supported HTML" I would very reasonably expect that it had a reasonable set of features, perhaps score well on compatibility benchmarks, and in general make an effort to conform to the relevant standards. If all it did was render <p> tags it would still be technically correct (it supports HTML!) but I would rightfully be less than pleased.

> No, the technical steering committee of the AMP project at the OpenJS Foundation determines that. Most of the members of that committee do not work for Google.

As I have pointed out to you previously (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20731535; I regret the typo), Google has extremely strong control over the Technical Steering Committee; while you are again correct to claim that they do not have a majority position, it would require unanimous coalition of every other member to oppose them.

> If I was advertised a browser

AMP is not a browser. It is HTML markup. Likewise, nobody claimed that AMP contains all of HTML. By deliberately misconstruing what AMP is, you are the one who is fruitlessly engaging in trite point scoring.

> it would require unanimous coalition of every other member to oppose them.

As I have also pointed out before, their goal is to have even fewer Google members on that committee. Already, anything that benefits only Google would be shot down. Compare to Apple News, which is controlled entirely by Apple or FBIA, controlled entirely by Facebook, or RSS which is no longer updated at all.

> AMP is not a browser. It is HTML markup.

Nowhere did I say it was: I was providing an example of a case where technically classifying something correctly may not be what people expect, except I used HTML in my example instead of shapes in an attempt to connect better to the topic at hand.

> nobody claimed that AMP contains all of HTML

The (now somewhat distant) ancestor claimed that AMP is powerful enough to use as essentially a replacement for HTML, and that publishers can use this subset exclusively for all their content. To which I (and others) have counterclaimed that it is not, because we have not seen publishers move to it, which means it is lacking something that HTML is giving them.

> By deliberately misconstruing what AMP is

That was not my intention, and I apologize if I came off that way.

> As I have also pointed out before, their goal is to have even fewer Google members on that committee. Already, anything that benefits only Google would be shot down.

Perhaps you know more about this than I do, but I have seen little movement in this direction or confirmation that Google is divesting themselves of control here.

> Compare to Apple News, which is controlled entirely by Apple or FBIA, controlled entirely by Facebook, or RSS which is no longer updated at all.

You keep bringing this up, but I don't see widespread complaints about Apple News or Facebook Instant Articles (and RSS is beloved to almost everyone I know). I think the key point here is intent: these sources are very clear in what they're doing, how they're doing, and I don't think they feel as "forced" to adopt it.

> I have seen little movement in this direction or confirmation that Google is divesting themselves of control here.

"The TSC shall have a goal of having no more than 1/3 of the TSC from one employer."


This is required to graduate from incubation at OpenJS.

"Have a defined governing body of at least 5 or more members (owners and core maintainers), of which no more than 1/3 is affiliated with the same employer."


> You keep bringing this up, but I don't see widespread complaints about Apple News or Facebook Instant Articles (and RSS is beloved to almost everyone I know).

Which is why I keep bringing it up. Each of those is worse than AMP at solving the same problems that AMP solves, but only AMP gets the rants from people who don't even know what problem AMP solves. They all "force" publishers to use them in exactly the same way.

Google is capable of driving SERP and carousel position based on the performance of the site. They don't need AMP for that. AMP is very much about creating an semi-walled garden. Any performance benefit is the lovely exterior of the Trojan horse.

And has been. Look at how well that worked for mobile web.

Sorry, "has been" what?

You mean Google is using performance, in a meaningful way, to drive SERP and Carousel placement?

If so, I disagree. They talk about it. They don't do it in a way that drives behaviour. They could.

A significant drop plus a webmaster tools message that says why, would work.

No kidding

Despite all the claims that AMP is only faster because of preload, if you actually look at these HTML sites on big news orgs they are MONSTROSITIES. Check out dev tools, the number of network requests is wild. The page is so insanely dynamic do old / slow computers even run it well?

From script size to dome/paint reflows etc etc to third party javascript having total access to your page - much of that is limited with AMP. I think third party javascript is forced into an iframe sandbox, can only be async with a web worker, limited in size acrosss ALL scripts etc.

> 3. Overlay...after overlay... after overlay.

amp-sticky-ad, amp-video-docking, amp-app-banner

> 4. Popover


> 5. Paywall

amp-access, amp-access-poool

> 7. Oops you scrolled too far better redirect you to another page entirely.


> 8. You wanted the video version of this article right? Better force you to read the article in 20% of the screen so all of our ads, bars, and video can fit on the page.

amp-sticky-ad, amp-video-docking

Can probably solve all of that by switching off Javascript.

uBlock Origin and uMatrix can give you the AMP experience without AMP, but the vast majority of users won't use them. I see the need for AMP but it just enables these bad corporate websites, as if CNN/FOX/Quora etc. can't afford to clean up their pages.

It would be better to just completely penalize blogs that paywall or otherwise make content unreadable. It's not like news articles are ever scarce. I don't know what they're doing as a search engine if I get any results that are this opaque.

Serious question: what else those websites are supposed to do (that AMP does not provide) with all those megabytes of scripts?

Newspapers display a text and an image and very rarely an interactive content(Election day maps and charts, mostly).

Is there a reason FROM USERS PERSPECTIVE to have different website codebase for each publisher?

For years the Web community kept creating new JavaScript libraries every day and all these web libraries were about providing a different way to do the same thing. No one ever created anything for the users, in fact, AMP is the first web technology that improves the user experience. It's loading fast and not too much stuff happens to display a text and an image.

Web people are mad at Google and I think they should be but all this happens because the web publishers refuse to compete on User Experience. They all optimize for the clickbitiest title or controversial topic and Google came and steamrolled their publishing tech.

I can't really blame Google for this one, you can check it out - I am critical of Google but I am more critical of the news business or the web tech community that optimized for very bad KPI that destroyed democracy, made web unpleasant and are now crying because of someone demolished their low-quality business.

From USERS PERSPECTIVE, AMP is a godsend. You can quickly view and skim low-quality content. The alternative is slowly viewing and skimming low-quality content.

It seems like the web technologists are unaware that they are dealing with real human beings, optimizing blindly for page views and CPMs.

AMP is Youtube for written content. A strealined conent delivery platform prioritizing UX that the publishers failed to create themselves all these years.

I’m just annoyed at my links being hijacked. When I click a link, my intention is to visit someone’s page, not to view it through some sort of creepy iframe. When I go to share a link, why is it a google link instead of the newspaper? Why do I have to spend a minute or two hunting for the real one in the ugly ui?

I agree with this, I don’t want to share AMP links because it feels wrong for some reason. Still, on the right top corner there’s a share button that would give you the link to the original source.

Publishers who implement Signed Exchanges get AMP links directly to their site with no iframe viewer on browsers that support the technology: https://amp.dev/documentation/guides-and-tutorials/optimize-...


Doing a thing and then offering a service or agreement to undo the thing is not the same as never doing a thing and is usually a pretty clear signal of some underhanded doingness.

Is “browsers that support the technology” interchangeable with “Google chrome”?

> From USERS PERSPECTIVE, AMP is a godsend.

This right here.

The first time I found myself on an AMP page, I thought "Holy crap, this page is fast and responsive!"

It was a couple months later I started seeing hate for AMP on HN and was kind of surprised. I understand the dislike of Google basically taking over, but I feel like Google is telling publishers "Since you guys can't figure out how to make fast web pages, we're gonna basically do it for you".

> AMP is Youtube for written content.

A few commenters have taking issue with this, but I interpreted it to mean early YouTube. Before YouTube became a thing, sharing videos online was difficult for a non-technical person. Just like YouTube made it easy to share videos, AMP has made it easy to make responsive pages.

Though a key difference is that it isn't hard to make responsive mobile web pages. Site owners have just decided that tracking, metrics, and advertising is more important than UX.

from USERS PERSPECTIVE, amp is meh. yes it's faster, does it really matter if you re getting an article in 1 second when you -obviously- plan to spend 2 minutes reading it? i dont know anyone who thinks so, perhaps your USERS do

> A strealined conent delivery platform prioritizing UX that the publishers failed to create

what you re implying is, Google failed to improve their algorithms to bypass obvious SEOs, so they are forcing everyone to use a dumbed down platform that is harder to SEO - for now!

Actually, it's a pretty well-known fact that users leave websites if they are not loading fast.

People don't go with reading plans to websites, the titles are optimized to bring you there and you don't know what's in the article. More often than not, the text on the website is not what the title made you believe it is. You can't plan ahead, you want to quickly find out what is this all about.

The article themselves are usually garbage optimized for SEO, long paragraphs of sentences that say the same thing but with different keywords. If that's not enough, they try to sway attention with ads and popups. Even if you had a plan about reading an article, the publisher's plan about you is different(tip: it's not about letting you read in peace).

The Web is horrible, it's even more horrible on mobile. AMP is an improvement.

Actually, it's a pretty well-known fact that users leave websites if they are not loading fast.

Is it? The only place I've ever seen push that view is Google. I've never seen any non-Google information reflecting that.

A few references listed in this article: https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/performance/why-site-spe...

- Mobify found that decreasing their homepage's load time by 100 milliseconds resulted in a 1.11% uptick in session-based conversion

- Retailer AutoAnything experienced a 12-13% increase in sales after cutting page load time in half

- Walmart discovered that improving page load time by one second increased conversions by 2%

those statements sound like incredible cherrypicking

does 1.11% sound a lot an is it statistically significant?

cut page in half from what to what? from 30 to 15 seconds? or from 2 to 1?

improving one second like how? from 12 to 11 or from 2 to 1? and is 2% really substantial?

Large companies spend a LOT of money trying to increase conversions by even tenths of a percent. Yes, 2% is substantial.

yeah , large companies. like , the 50-100 top sites right? Why would everybody else care about minor speed improvements

I too am skeptical- except in extreme cases. Maybe if it's some sort of mindless bullshit site that I'm not really interested in I would leave it if it didn't load in, say, 5 seconds. But I don't really give a shit about the bullshit web. Life would be better without that anyway (except, of course, for companies who make a living selling ads on such sites).

But if somebody's leaving a page that has content they need because it doesn't load in 1 second, then I'd say they're a dumbass.

> users leave websites if they are not loading fast

then google is doing a bad job of presenting these sites to users, since obviously these sites should lose their rank, since users leave them. Google surely thinks bounce rates are important, no?

> The article themselves are usually garbage optimized for SEO, long paragraphs of sentences

and how is AMP fixing this? and who is responsible for SEO having these incentives? SEO literally means they optimize for what google wants

They do lose ranks[0].

AMP is fixing this because you can take a peek into the content almost instantaneously so you can just see what is this all about and leave.


i don't see why any webmaster would want users who "peek instantaneously and leave". what a waste of an http request

It's sometimes a little faster but also considerably less functional. The Guardian and Reddit both have AMP pages that are much worse than the actual pages.

> if you re getting an article in 1 second when you -obviously- plan to spend 2 minutes reading it?

In my experience, 99.9 percentile is more like 2~30 seconds in NorCal with a potentially sub-optimal ISP. I expect this to be even worse in developing countries like south/southeast asia.

You clearly don't speak for the users in the developing world with bad connections. Speed is anything but irrelevant.

Google AMP mostly just reduces the latency by pre-loading the pages from Google Search results. That has the side-effect of increasing the traffic on networks using Google Search when Google AMP results come up on the Google Search results, which they probably will given that using Google AMP will improve the site's Google Search ranking.

I haven't benchmarked it, so I can't actually speak from anything but wild speculation, but Google AMP might actually be making this problem worse.

I gave it a try. So I searched for "Trump" in Safari mobile, the result page loaded 2.5mb. It loaded a bit more when I clicked on an AMP article and kept loading more as I jump from article to article. It did not load any data without me switching to the next article.

After 10 articles, the transferred data was 28MB. I visited the Guardian's own website and it fetched 3MB.

So, It looks like Google does not preload a huge amount of data.

ps: I use ad-blocking and cleaned the cache.

How are you able to look at how much data was transferred on Safari mobile? As far as I know you can't access dev tools on mobile. Did you just change the User Agent on your computer to simulate?

You can! You can use the desktop Safari to connect to your iPhone's Safari and access full developer tools.

Just connect your iPhone to a Mac, open Safari desktop and in the Develop menu, you will see your mobile phone. When you open a page on mobile Safari, you will be able to see it from the Develop menu and when you click on it, the full Safari developer tools will open in a new window. Works just like the regular developer tools.

I do know it preloads on Chrome on Android on mobile networks, but it's a little surprising that it doesn't on Safari on iOS.

I know it's not kosher to complain about downvotes but I said nothing about AMP, just argued against the statement that users don't care about speed. Anything that could possibly be interpreted in Google's favor gets downvoted immediately. It's carpet bombing with collateral damage.

slow users everywhere are better served with the simple amphtml page without any of google's scripts

The major problem is the download size anyway, and most of it is google-served ads and trackers. Amp is making this asynchronous, but afaik it doesn’t get rid of the ads

AMP is Youtube for written content. A strealined conent delivery platform prioritizing UX that the publishers failed to create themselves all these years.

Do you pay for youtube? Because the vanilla youtube experience is an ad-ridden UX nightmare.

If AMP is YouTube, AMP sucks.

I use adblocking on Safari(mobile and desktop), so the web experience for me is very good. On the iPhone App, the ads are annoying but I do understand that this is how the content is paid for, so I am O.K. with it.

The main difference is that with many websites things jump around when on Youtube the design is clearly defined. There's no cognitive load in trying to find the content between those "subscribe" popups and menus etc.

They clearly designed their experience with the understanding that you are there to watch a video.

Actually, YouTube's website is so good that the first thing that appears on the page is the video and it starts playing when the rest of the page(like, subscribe buttons suggested videos etc.) is still loading and not rendered.

Most websites on the other hand act as if the content was the bite to lure you there and try to make you subscribe/create an account/ allow notifications/show you ads and it's their failure if you actually happen to consume the content that was promised to you from the link you clicked.

Completely different experiences.

What's the point of praising youtube's UX if you're blocking part of it?

I'm blocking ads on all the websites, my content blocker is not youtube-only. Still, other websites suck and Youtube is great because UX is not just about ads.

> The alternative is slowly viewing and skimming low-quality content.

No, the alternative is quickly skimming low-quality content with an adblocker and reader mode.

AMP is fast because it prerenders. That is the main point of AMP, and you seemingly don't understand it after working on it. It amazes me how little developers understand their platforms these days.

You may consider that we do understand pre-render, but don't like the trade-off involved.

A full on AOL style walled garden could be even faster. It could mandate brotli, force a common css base, only offer one kind of ad platform, etc. Should we go there?

The person I was responding to said that AMP was fast for a reason other than prerendering. That's wrong. Prerendering is the main point of AMP, which is what I pointed out in my comment.

A full AOL style walled garden is what Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles are. AMP enables the same speed in a way that any link aggregator can take advantage of without having to strike deals with individual publishers.

I agree with your literal statements, but Google does abuse AMP. The way they hijack left/right swipe and the back button for carousel loaded pages is ample evidence for me. It's very clearly not my content any more when you steal the top X pixels and hijack user interactions.

AMP also requires I include a Google owned and controlled piece of JavaScript that they can change at any time. That's literally in the "standard". In fact, a bad update borked all AMP pages for quite a while some time ago.

> The way they hijack left/right swipe and the back button for carousel loaded pages

This doesn't happen for me on any of my Android browsers. The problem is likely with your browser. I wouldn't be surprised if Chrome on iOS is buggy just like every other browser available for iOS.

> AMP also requires I include a Google owned and controlled piece of JavaScript that they can change at any time

If you don't want your page to load instantly from Google, Bing, and other link aggregators, don't use it. Same with Apple News, which has more ornery integration requirements. I, as a user, will simply skip over your links to find faster ones. If you don't give users what they want, what do you expect will happen?

> This doesn't happen for me on any of my Android browsers.

They're talking about a feature built into Safari on iOS that allows you to swipe between pages from the left and right edges of the screen. Since all browsers on iOS use Safari as the base, they will inherit this behavior unless they take specific steps to disable it, which most don't.

AMP breaks that behavior and although I don't use it, many many people on iOS do and are accustomed to it.

Yeah...my Google controlled browser that has dominant market share. Don't think Google wouldn't hijack on other browsers if they thought they could get away with it.

"If you don't want your page to load instantly from Google"

Right. Would be a shame if somethin' bad were to happen to my little website, eh Vinnie?

Please don't cross into personal attack. Your comment would be fine with just the first sentence, or if it stopped before "you seemingly". There's no need for supercilious disses of "developers" either.


That soyyo, like the article's author, seemingly does not understand that AMP enables prerendering is simply stating a fact. In soyyo's comment, there is no place where soyyo shows any understanding that this is the thing that AMP was designed to do.

When I continued with my general statement about developers not understanding their platforms, I can see how that can be interpreted as a personal attack, and for that I apologise to soyyo and to the readers of this forum.

> So the "fast" part, besides using their CDN, actually comes from limiting what you can do on almost every other part of the site

That is a good thing.

If you work for a media org - than you KNOW that on the non-amp pages the synchronous java script from a hundred tracking / ad platforms (why can't these sites just use ONE tracking library) CRUSH the page load times.

Despite your (false) claim that google support sync javascript ad libraries "just as they do in their regular sites" this is 100% false.

The amp javascript components have DOM interaction restrictions, file size restrictions, response restrictions, can't run sync etc.

for amp-ad

"No ad network-provided JavaScript is allowed to run inside the AMP document. Instead, the AMP runtime loads an iframe from a different origin (via iframe sandbox) as the AMP document and executes the ad network’s JS inside that iframe sandbox."

If you can't understand why some of these steps result in both a faster site and one that is more secure I can't help you, but please stop with the misinformation here.

> "No ad network-provided JavaScript is allowed to run inside the AMP document. Instead, the AMP runtime loads an iframe from a different origin (via iframe sandbox) as the AMP document and executes the ad network’s JS inside that iframe sandbox."

GOOGLE CONTROLS THE AD ECOSYSTEM. If they think that's a good idea, do it on regular webpages. Literally, AMP is only faster because Google provided ads are so slow that any more sane architecture can easily run circles around them.

How Google could speed up the web 5000%:

"Starting next month, all ads must be a collection of static assets with no JavaScript outside of this toolbox. We will host the ads and ensure no other JavaScript is executed."


> Despite your (false) claim that google support sync javascript ad libraries "just as they do in their regular sites" this is 100% false.

OP didn’t claim this.

> they will look how to load it with ads and tracking, which very conveniently is supported on amp, just as they do in their regular sites.

Yes OP did.

He put words in OPs mouth about sync loaded JS.

Take "sync" out of the mouth-inserted words and it's an exact representation of OP's claim: that AMP pages will gravitate toward being just as JS-laden as non-AMP pages.

Whether or not that claim is true is beyond both my expertise and my interest.

No, this doesn’t say anything about sync vs async.

The parent / op literally says they will load AMP with ads and trackers "just as they do in their regular sites."

So we are very clear, regular HTML websites allow sync javascript and cross site / full dom access etc by trackers and ad platforms. Sync is preferred for a few reasons by ad providers. Lots of regular sites have sync javascript.

On AMP, total javascript size is limited, dom interactions are limited (ie, you can repaint the screen repeatedly with the flyover crap etc) and sync is prohibited and the script generally runs in a sandboxed iframe with a separate web worker.

So I'm not putting words in anyone's mouth, I quotes them exactly, and am pointing out that despite their false claim that you can run same things in AMP you do on regular site - you cannot.

People claiming that AMP is only faster because of preload, that publishers can abuse the user as much as they do with full HTML, that javascript works just as it does on their regular site are lying.

Is AMP perfect? No - folks will always be able to abuse things, but it cuts down on a bunch of common and egregious abuses.

I wonder if part of the issue is some folks here browse with ad-block or other extensions and so don't really experience the web as publishers intend it - because the differences between AMP and non AMP sites is glaring (ignoring the preload question).

Sorry, none of this matters. You are still putting words in OPs mouth. You should apologize for doing that and simultaneously saying they made a false claim.

amp-ads moves those ads/trackers in iframes, but that doesn't reduce the code size, right? google is also injecting code in your site , so you can't be sure that it's secure / private, right?

And if i promise to make all ads async and iframe, will google promise to rank my site higher? If not , they are discriminating in favor of their own walled garden system without an objective ruse.

really? adsense forbids use of iframes afaik

they offer replacements as amp-ads. i dont know how they work

Probably highly unpopular opinion, but as a user I've never had anything but positive experiences with AMP-enabled sites. They load massively faster than normal sites, especially on poor mobile connections where main sites sometimes hang indefinitely trying to load javascript, ads, etc.

While content publishers are continuing to overload their sites with further trackers, ads, javascript, remotely loading assets which slow down performance, AMP seems like one of the few counterbalances and is pro-user, even if Google's endgame is self-enrichment rather than benevolence.

Content publishers could easily fight back by independently improving their own performance and not forcing mobile users to suck down megabytes of trackers on shaky connections, but they seem to be choosing not to.

> They load massively faster than normal sites, especially on poor mobile connections where main sites sometimes hang indefinitely trying to load javascript, ads, etc.

Have you tried the normal mobile websites with an adblocker?

I have, and I agree - as a user AMP sites seem to be faster, at least the ones that I've noticed are AMP.

But I've also implemented AMP pages and as a developer they are a PITA. And as discussed in the OP and related they are definitely an of example Google crowd-sourcing their challenges onto everyone else.

Part of what makes AMP pages faster is that the AMP constraints force you to abandon not just ads but also many other complex HTML5/CSS/JS features. The resulting UX is less sexy and may be lacking in functionality, but there is simply less of it. Getting simple AMP pages from Google's cache _is__ noticeably faster on mobile, as much as I wish it wasn't.

Good luck doing it on mobile phone. I'd say 99.99% users out there on mobile never even attempted to use another browser than safari or chrome for ios.

Firefox on android lets you install most of the available desktop extensions, so you can use your favourite ad blockers

But then you have to suffer using Firefox on Android.

There's nothing wrong with it, I've been using it for ages.

Well, once a webpage has played audio there's a notification that hangs around till you restart the phone. That's probably better than the cost of running Chrome, though.

You don't have to restart your phone. On Android you can close the app from the recent app list.

Safari supports ad blockers, and they’re quite easy to set up.

Whether or not people actually install them is a good question, though.

I’m using safari + adguard (an app that injects adblock rules into it) and pretty sure that I see no ads. Except on few sites that usually try to push it even through desktop uBO anyway. Even no youtube ads, idk how they do it.

I'm from Poland, a country which has one of the highest percentages of adblocker users. Most pages adapted to it by either doing nasty tricks to bypass them, or just slapping an unclosable popup telling you to disable your adblocker...

I've seen a few such websites. Hit back button and never visited them again.

Normal people don’t know how to do that

Normal people know how to use Firefox which has it built-in.

Most people don't go that route because they have more important things going on in their lives.

AMP isn't about solving one-offs or making users improve their own experience. It's about improving most people's experience by default.

I don't like AMP, it frustrates me, and I think Google's fucking up in their implementation, but it actually _does_ do a good thing.

Changing your browser is a pretty simple operation if you're not an advanced user who has to replicate his intricate workflow. A large number of people have done it at least once in their lives.

I also don't think we should simply say "it does a good thing". That would mean we are consciously choosing to concentrate on the good aspects while deliberately ignoring the bad ones.

AMP does have good sides, but this is what makes it especially dangerous. Hijacking web sites by fronting them from another unrelated domain is completely completely unacceptable. The good side of AMP lies in making websites lean, but this can be done without the fronting part.

Have you used AMP reddit?

Yes, it's substandard, but you can easily get to the main site. Also if you're googling for an answer from Reddit, I've found the answer is often in the first few posts anyway. Reddit is probably the only case I can think of where the AMP user experience is not ideal.

Clicking through to the hamstrung Reddit on AMP and then clicking through to the actually functional site makes for an artificially high load time.

I'm not a fan of Google's proprietary web, but it's worth pointing out that this is largely a response to the increasingly shitty way publishers treat their users. Just reading basic articles on the web has become a painful exercise in dodging "Subscribe" faux-pop-ups; trying to scan text while your vision is bombarded with unrelated video; and user-hostile scroll capture effects.

For much the same reasons Google AMP is a thing, I use Apple News for most of my news reading. The web has overcome commercial broadcast television as being the shittiest way of consuming content.

It's worth noting that Apple News take a 50% cut of the revenue. On the web, a publisher is free to do whatever they want so when Google can insert themselves into that, it is a fraction of the cut that Apple takes.

It's the sort of thing that reminds me why I want the web platform to remain competitive with iOS, Facebook, and Android. If not AMP, something like it was sorely needed.

I guess because I work on mostly b2b or private apps, I'm not up on the latest for sites that are trying to drive traffic and views. SEO has always seemed like a dirty world of stepping on whatever you have to just to get clicks, and be the 500th app someone grants notification permissions to.

Why using proprietary Apple News when there are so many news aggregators and even RSS readers? Isn't it just laziness?

I started blacklisting hostile websites and encouraging people to do the same.

Also worth pointing out Google can and does rank websites by any criteria they choose. So if the top ranking sites have poor usability that is on Google in the first place.

It's tough to work-around the unilateral-disarmament problem here: if supporting AMP gives you a boost in Google SERPs it's difficult to boycott AMP if your competitors don't.

This is what is so insidious about what Google is doing here and seems to me to maybe make a good case that Google abuses its monopoly power.

(INB4: "It's a bad idea to make your business depend on Google traffic because that's fickle and outside of your control." Sure, that's true, but still, organic Google traffic is a pretty rich vein to completely ignore or cede to competitors.)

I agree with all of this, but until google provides a way to appear in the discover box without having AMP-published pages, this is a non-starter for publishers. Ironically, by creating AMP, google has disincentivized publishers from making their canonical pages faster.

Publishers hate that google holds them hostage with AMP in this manner, but the situation is what it is, until someone from the Justice Department starts making the lords of Mountain View antsy.

I think the fact that Google gives higher ranking in their search results to sites that use Google technologies should be addressed in anti-trust investigations.

>Ironically, by creating AMP, google has disincentivized publishers from making their canonical pages faster.

In theory, maybe, but I think history has clearly demonstrated that publishers will not make their pages faster if AMP didn't exist. That's why AMP has been so successful in the first place.

It would have been interesting if Google had openly added the same incentive (access to carousel at top of search results, search prioritization, special marker (lightning symbol)) to pages that follow the same guidelines AMP enforces (generally, avoid techniques that block page rendering or cause large layout changes), and published AMP as a reference implementation.

100% agree with that and part of the issue is that they didn't. They had the option to begin aggressively de-prioritizing pages that have performance issues and are otherwise detrimental to user experience.. that would have resulted in some pretty swift changes to bad UX. Instead they created AMP and told publishers "you want to be on mobile search results, use this".

I would like to point out that it is possible to have web pages that load faster than AMP. It has not been made easy but many publishers have figured out (in some cases publishers have web pages that load faster than their AMP ones...)

Take a look: https://webperf.xyz

I have a number of issues with AMP but I will just mention two:

1. If Google addressed how their ad system was being mis-used (and in many respects as-intended) that would have gone a long way to addressing webpage performance. Instead they pushed more work on the publisher to adopt yet another new format (add it to Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News JSON formats, Google News MediaRSS etc.)

2. AMP helped killed some early momentum to make pages faster. They sold a bandaid solution that was 'good enough' for management and undercut engineering efforts to address the root cause.

And in the process introduced a whole new layer of cruft and the number of bugs I hear from the web teams trying to implement content with AMP is... it's constant.

I used to use Google hundreds of times per day, literally everything I wanted to know I would type into Google.

Between their A) political activities (opinion influencing, censorship, etc.), B) business activities (user tracking, ruinous ads, etc.), and C) search quality issues (they have a major conflict of interest between providing good search results and maximizing A and B), I didn’t even have to try to stop using them out of principle; I literally just don’t get any value out of using Google search anymore.

I use DuckDuckGo (starting circa 2013), which provides a fairly similar/mediocre quality search experience, but without all the other aforementioned problems. The truth of the matter is that these search giants ruined search so bad that I don’t even really use search as much anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I realize that I can no longer rely on finding things easily. This is not a problem of “the Internet has just gotten too big”. This is a problem created by Google, which has now set a low benchmark.

I have been using the "Redirect AMP to HTML" extension:


My experience with AMP, immediately before seeing this article:

1. On desktop, I clicked through a link on Facebook, leading to an AMP page

2. The page was clearly meant for mobile, and looked bad on desktop; the images were full-screen size, the font was too big, and the text line length went all the way to the edges of my very wide browser window.

3. I used Ctrl+Minus to adjust the zoom, which fixed the font size but not the images or the line length.

4. I looked at the top and bottom of the page for a "desktop site" link, and couldn't find one.

5. I looked at the address bar, and saw that the URL was an AMP URL. This is the first time I have noticed that I am using AMP in more than a month.

6. I closed the tab and went to HN, where this was the top article.

When AMP works well, it's inconspicuous, so it's not so surprising that most of my remembered experiences with it are negative. Still, I think google needs to invest a bit more in preventing this sort of bad experience, because currently it comes across as "google breaking the web".

Every valid AMP page includes a <link rel=canonical href="..."> to the canonical URL for the document. If the aggregator (facebook in this case) parsed and linked to the canonical as the publisher recommends via this annotation, you would get the version the publisher preferred. This is how browser extensions that rewrite to the non-amp version work, they extract this URL.

The AMP viewer iframe share button (and share intents) all share this canonical URL, not the AMP url. Google's implementation is trying it's best to get you to that version as well when sharing links.

Link Rel Canonical is an old (2012) standard: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6596

I don't understand how Google's AMP business strategies are dissimilar to what Microsoft got in trouble for with Internet Explorer. Would be interested in what someone who is knowledgeable on that topic has to say.

One could argue, that it never really got Microsoft in _that_ much trouble. They retained Internet Explorer, and really all the requirements put on them by the U.S. and EU combined didn't amount to much.

Not saying it _shouldn't_ have gotten Microsoft into that much trouble, just that it did not.

It has been argued that Microsoft (higher management) missed the Web and/or the smartphone because they were caught up in litigation.

Imagine the position Google would be in today if both Chrome and Android were controlled by Microsoft.

For those interested in security - AMP basically forces the iframe javascript sandbox security model.


Even reputable web pages tend to have a metric TON of non-sandboxed javascript from third parties. If you care about your security this is a risk.

If you stick with AMP - this is - by spec - prohibited.

Something to think about as you browse the web gobbling down javascript and all the other third party javascript being pumped at you.

Which conveniently ensures that the only way you can effectively monetize AMP articles is via Google's own advertising networks which don't have constraints on running javascript.

See the list of natively supported Ad networks in AMP: https://amp.dev/documentation/components/amp-ad/#supported-a...

There are about 200 in that list and any network can submit a config to be added, it's just a pull request away.

so AMP is like the play store but for advertisers?

Yes. The readers are the product.

> For those interested in security - AMP basically forces the iframe javascript sandbox security model.

AMP is the wrong way to address this. Using a good browser is the right way.

My parents use IE, my friends use Safari - both have high market share - are these good browsers? Should users of these browsers be forced to fight through flyover ads that autoplay audio, repainting pages that jump around like crazy, huge sets of third party javascript with total access to their page / session?

Now that we finally can run JS in AMP. That's been a big no since we can't run our normal funnel using AMP.

"How to make your sites faster than AMP without using AMP" leaves out "locally cache a copy of your site in a CDN that is geographically close to your users." Which is the actual mechanical part of AMP that makes it technologically interesting / valuable to content providers and countries distant from the creation of most content.

It also omits the part where google starts preloading and rendering the AMP page when the user is still on the search results. Without that, AMP is often no faster than many non-amp pages.

This should be higher. By googling, you are using way more data because of AMP pages, that is big minus especially if you are on mobile plan

Otoh, without AMP that would bring even a PC to its knees.

This technology has been available to anyone via Akamai, CloudFront and other edge caching networks for years. It shouldn't require Google threatening AMP to get content publishers to adopt it.

I work in the news industry and have literally never published anything to the public without a CDN. It's basic, easy, and cheap. AMP is a scam.

I think there needs to be a real alternate solution from Google for longer term change. (if Google wants to stay relevant)

Can they just penalize slow/large file size sites in their index?

This seems like the underlying goal behind AMP and Chrome's Lighthouse (site audit tool) any way.

This would make a lot of sites fast in the next couple months. But maybe Google doesn't really want that?

Page speed is already a penalty factor in ranking. Think they introduced this last year

edit: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-i...

But what does Google say about AMP affecting your ranking? If they don't explicitly state both sides, then we are left to guess.

And I would say (considering how Google search looks on mobile in Chrome) that AMP is a far higher effect on rank than page speed.

So what is the motivation to make your page speed faster when you can just have an AMP page and then a super fat page for everything else?

AMP's current goals are stated to make pages load faster, but it's obvious that the goal is only a start. It's essentially the second part of Microsoft's old "Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish" where Google is wanting to extend the third party advertising and content that exists on the web so that they may extinguish it.

Google's mission is to "organize the world's information". How can you better organize the world's information when other companies control it? Nothing better than taking control of that information directly. Now you can organize and reformat it to your own wishes. Nothing evil about that, mind you, but it does make you think about their next steps.

The reason that they do not just penalize slow loading sites in a big way is because those are the sites that they directly profit on.

Most page weight seems to come from tracking and ads. Google IS the most popular tracking and ad provider on the web.

If google penalized slow loading very much, they'd be hurting their own revenue and data collection. It's a conflict of interest.

AMP allows these big, ad-driven, heavy-weight sites to still take all the top spots on the web. Meanwhile terrific content is buried because it's failure to implement AMP.

Google's self-interested ranking of sites is shaping the web very negatively - towards more tracking and more ads.

You’re correct. When making a site you have to make a trade off between “Advert supported” and “lightweight”. Pretty damn sneaky of them!

> Can they just penalize slow/large file size sites in their index?

Well, that would be bad for the independent web, wouldn't it? I mean, you'd be penalising sites with large amounts of content, that aren't on a CDN. Large images or videos, for example, might be the entire point of the page in the first place. I don't want to be directed to to a webpage about an artist (for example) that has the crappiest, smallest and fastest loading images, I want the one with the best images.

Html <img> and <picture> elements already have the ability to serve larger or smaller images (srcset) based on your browser's perception of your network performance.

I agree with the other comment here replying to you. In the olden days people had to explicitly link to larger content. Isn't that was AMP does anyway?

The reason Google has penalties for page weight and loading time is that they have extensive user research on customer behavior related to loading time. If a flat page studded with a few dozen giant PNG’s takes a minute to load, most people are going to click the back button.

It’s worth spending some time optimizing your landing page so that it loads fast and renders cleanly on mobile, if you want people to see your content. That doesn’t mean it has to use JS, or AMP.

> The reason Google has penalties for page weight and loading time is that they have extensive user research on customer behavior related to loading time. If a flat page studded with a few dozen giant PNG’s takes a minute to load, most people are going to click the back button.

Why is then basically every single page created by Google is a bloated monstrosity with multi-megabyte Pangs routinely embedded in them and loading megabytes of shitty JS?

well no, not really? Perhaps you could imagine a world where it default loads a smaller file and right underneath there is a link to a larger file? This used to be a more common thing...

This is _literally_ what people do to game the paint speed of websites for Chrome Lighthouse tests.

They render a <p>Loading</p> so it gets a paint score of 100, then when their behemoth js app finishes loading+parsing it removes this dom element.

This is literally every WIX site on the web. 100% javascript rendered site.

> Well, that would be bad for the independent web, wouldn't it?

Google already effectively omits most of the independent web anyway. It strongly favors the large commercial websites instead.

That's a very edge case - its more that front end design and developers need to get their act together and design and build for speed!

Don't use complex but nice images designed for print on the web and not just copypasta god knows what js library.

Are you saying good, clear pictures are an edge case? I just can't agree, as I find them hugely relevant to a large number of subjects.

I don't think images are the problem, megabytes of third-party javascript is.

Crawlers are smart enough to measure various types of slowness; images/video are non-blocking so although they're bandwidth-heavy, adding a bunch to your site is probably less "damaging" than a slow initial server response or first paint.

> I don't want to be directed to to a webpage about an artist (for example) that has the crappiest, smallest and fastest loading images, I want the one with the best images.

There are several technologies available for progressively-enhanced images, and Chrome is experimenting with lazy-loading all images[1]. This argument does not exist in practice.

[1] https://web.dev/native-lazy-loading/

W3C is working on neutral/non-locked-in replacements for AMP like feature policies and Web Packaging but standards take years to deploy.

Yes - they do this.

Slow web pages is a big signal (out of many) in SEO.

AMP demotivates page speed performance improvements though. (ie, AMP > page speed for ranking)

Great post, although I'm a little meh on lazy-loading images. I like when the whole page is finished loading the moment I think it's finished loading. But more to the point, lazy-loading can be a crutch just like AMP is, for solving problems that shouldn't exist, such as: your page is big & bloated. If you keep it small, there's no need for lazy-loading. But you have to limit the number of images, and optimize the ones that are there. And probably only one video per page. Horrors! Obviously none of this works when the page is effectively infinite in size - such as when you're trying to give the user the addictive excitement of scrolling through a continuous, visually-rich "feed".

Yeah, please don't add lazy loading.

- It breaks viewing the site with javascript disabled.

- It prevents viewing the site offline (e.g. on an airplane) without first scrolling through the whole content while online.

- Unless implemented perfectly it adds delays before content you have scrolled to becomes visible.

Deciding when to load stuff should be the browser's job. Don't reimplement the browser in javascript.

> - It prevents viewing the site offline (e.g. on an airplane) without first scrolling through the whole content while online.

I'm genuinely surprised by how many apparently considerate websites like Wikipedia seem to completely ignore this consideration. I often don't have a working internet connection. Why shouldn't I be able to read the article I already loaded when on wifi? Why should I pay for mobile data when I tried to load a page on wifi?

Meaningful, content images should be loaded on a phone when using a non-metred connection promptly so that a user need not waste their metred connection just because they want to read an article on a bus - or a subway.

Breaking the website for the five geeks who disable javascript isn't really a valid consideration, in my view, despite the fact that I ran with disabled javascript for a long time.

But your final paragraph is very much true. Mobile UA authors should consider enabling lazy loading on metred connections and disabling it on non-metred connections by default.

Long term users of web browsers can probably remember in the days of 14.4k browsers, many people used the setting to disable loading images by default. A modern version of that setting should be restored.

I'd love to see a lazy loading idiom implemented in pure HTML. But I'm not holding my breath.

What's wrong with <img src="image.png">? Maybe some kind of semantic purpose <img src="image.png" purpose="decoration"> vs <img src="image.png" purpose="graphical-content"> but you can imagine every website owner will think that their logo is graphical content and respectful UA authors will need to disregard the semantic attributes and try to guess based on the presence or absence of some kind of caption, for instance.

UAs could easily lazy load by default on metred connections.

The page layout changes after the image loads, which is annoying as a user. Probably because users have been trained to hate page layout changes that happen a few seconds late because of that dark pattern where you change the page right as the user is about to click to change the thing they click on. How they achieve this on mobile is anyone's guess.

On the topic of lazy load. If you are using non native lazy load, please have some kind of fallback if javascript is disabled. It stinks to have a page load and just get blurry images, and need to enable javascript for a couple pictures to render.

I find it sad that Google bloats the web with all its analytics and fonts, and then offers a solution to fix the bloat by providing AMP instead.

And there are so many other third-party elements that are detrimental. It's sad that we have to use things like Firefox's tracking protection to remove all this bloat that people insert on webpages just because it's possible to do so today and it wasn't fifteen years ago.

It feels like a Pandora's Box at times. We can complain a lot but nothing is stopping you from adding just one more JS package to your app if you want to, because it's as easy as 'npm install' and you don't see the downsides.

I moved away from all Google services (which I used to be keen to get involved with initially! How times have changed.) over the last few years. I don't miss any of them.

There are alternatives for everything. While you're at it, do the same for Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, if you can. I only have Instagram left.

Having separate URLs for the same target document is antithetical to the Web. See also TBL's essay, "Cool URIs don't change": https://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI

Another way to fight back against Google in general is to stop using Chrome and stop using google search.

Also stop using auto-update. Promote a diversity of browsers and browser versions.

I don't think recommending people to stop using automatic updates is a good thing because it likely means users will not receive security updates.

Also stop them from buying android devices.

Good lucks with that.

I'd like to see a "vote with your wallet/attention" style search engine, where you can exclude certain sites from showing up based on the underlying and associated tech they use, and prefer sites that use tech you personally support, similar to ingredients lists on supermarket products. There is so much informational content out there that this kind of filtering wouldn't impact the user experience.

The most annoying thing for me, as a vision-impaired user, is that AMP pages disable zoom.

I know that can be overridden in Chrome's accessibility settings, but it's a shitty practice that something like AMP shouldn't be promoting.

I think the idea is that you'll either use a screen reader or use the system zoom tool. Not defending it, but I can see the logic they used.

I'll use the system zoom if I need to, but it's very awkward compared to the browser zoom. You're stuck panning around the magnified screen with one set of gestures, while also having to scroll through the page using the browser's gestures. It works but it's not pleasant.

The excuse I always hear about disabling zoom has to do with the multi-touch delay. I can somewhat see the sense of that for very particular applications, but definitely not for AMP, which as I understand it is meant for mostly static content (I'm only assuming though).

More often than not, what I find is that if I override zoom disable and then browser zoom on a site that doesn't allow it usually, it ends up breaking the layout as you zoom. This makes me wonder if they're just disabling zoom because they can't be bothered fixing their CSS to deal with it.

But what's wrong with using the web browser's zoom tool? Why is it somehow worse to get reflowing zoom? This idea that I'm using a phone optimised site so all text should be 8pt is just bizarre. It's not like the UA author has removed support for zoom: they're just disabling it arbitrarily.

It's not even about reflowing text, it's just the usual two-finger zoom gesture that gets disabled. I'm very accustomed to moving the large text as I read it, so don't even need reflow.

The only way is to make something better. Not using Chrome, not using Google Search, etc will have close to zero impact. Fix the mess so AMP isn't necessary. How? Your guess is better than mine.

I like AMP. It's possible to write fast websites without it, and I do do that for my sites. For for big, non-tech sites AMP has provided sufficient motivation to offer a fast version. Nothing else has managed to do this before. I'd rather have fast AMP pages of all those news sites than having to load the slow default view. Experience suggests that the options aren't "fast with AMP or fast without AMP", but "fast or slow". It's for incentive reasons, not for technical reasons, but I'm still glad the fast version exists.

Marko, bravo for making that clean and readable site (and having 0 trackers, as reported by Firefox Klar)!

There's one issue I noticed when clicking the links to page sections (#anchors). Those lazy-loaded images make the page scroll away from the section title I jumped to. Is it possible to fix that by having images replaced by placeholders of the same size?

Thanks for the kind words and yeah no trackers/third-party calls/cookies etc. Have tested on regular Firefox for mobile and on Firefox Preview too (you should try it if you like Klar) and it works fine on both. I'll see if I can add placeholders when all this traffic slows down. Don't dare to touch much at this time.

Please remove lazy loading completely and instead leave the decision when to load content to the browser. Static content should never use any scripts.

Another way to fight back is to promote alternatives such as DuckDuckGo. I just ordered a swanky tshirt


If you have Android, deAMPify is great.

It seems to be abandoned, but still works for most sites.


As a user, AMP gives me a better experience than non-AMP search results. It's a tough sell to tell people like me that I should prefer the worse product (the slow, tracking infested, bloated full website).

As an iPhone user I find AMP to be painfully buggy. Rotation doesn't work properly, the URL bar doesn't hide properly, reader mode is routinely broken, pinch to zoom doesn't work, etc. I wish I could disable it.

I don't particularly care to because I find it convenient.

I remember looking at the original HTML5 spec and going, there is no way lower power / low bandwidth / high latency devices will be able to handle this efficiently. Nevertheless, we moved fast and broke things, ratified the HTML5 spec and paved the cowpaths without a second thought to language or efficiency.

Somewhere along the line, things came full circle. HTML was slow again, so we needed a new new way to efficiently render content, thus AMP was born.

In what way is HTML5 is inherently slower than previous versions? Pages tend to be slow because of the tracking and adds addded to them as well as client-side "rendering" for static content. None of that is required by HTML5.

Essentially html5 is significantly harder to parse because the amount of branching that has to be done. If you go look at the amp specification and the reasons behind it, they designed it to be a stripped-down light version of HTML5.

I'm more likely to click AMP links in search results than non-AMP links. The reason for this is the pre-loading that Google does for them. The links load almost instantly, where some non-amp link might take up to 20 seconds to finally load enough where I can start scrolling past the ads.

The Facebook instant links (or whatever they're called) have much the same effect on me. I'll usually open those if the headline even makes me a little curious.

> Just visiting a site with Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection on makes a faster and less intrusive web. It’s a built-in blocker of intrusive ads and invisible scripts.

What am I missing here? I installed FireFox, set Enhanced Tracking Protection changed to "strict", and went to typical sites that track you (news sites). I still see third-party hits in the Developer Tools (e.g. facebook) and it says it blocked 0 trackers so far.

This holiday season I'm putting DDG and FF on all the families machines. Flipped some over the summer. They hardly notice. The icon for "internet" is now orange and the search still finds all the stuff they are looking for.

The big G makes money off our non-tech associates, not us, so moving them is, IMO, more important than me and tech-folk moving.

The best way to fight back is to use DuckDuckGo. After the "controversial twiddler", Google is going to have to have to do something significant to earn my trust back. I do occasionally switch back using "g! <query>" on duckduckgo when I don't get any decent results, but for the most part duckduckgo is fine.

Everyone should start using Brave or Firefox and DuckDuckGo and stop using all Google things as much as possible.

It's funny that, if it was a net neutrality issue, e.g. Comcast pushing a new video format and prioritizing video for their own streaming service, the internet would be a warzone by now. But we all love google. And google used to be all fuzzy and unevil. But now they 're evil

How can anyone categorize AMP as evil? They are improving and leading. No one needs to use Google, they have alternatives. This is how things evolve. Someone else will create another amp alternative and things will change later. Netflix was #1, then Hulu, Disney, amazon video came. No one lasts forever, everyone needs to evolve and this exactly is what google is doing.

amp is a vehicle to a) turn web content owners to gig writers for google and b) push Signed HTTP Exchanges, a dangerous protocol on the web. I can't attribute stupidity to google because they re very smart, so it must be malice

Why is signed HTTP exchanges dangerous, and indeed, what are they?


> Google Chome makes SXG indistinguishable from regular HTTPS, which breaks basic assumptions around how users understand the green padlock in location bar (aka "nobody but me and the Origin server can see the payload"). UX of regular HTTPS is reused as-is, pretending that end-to-end HTTPS transport was used with Origin from location bar, which is not true.



> Big changes need strong justification and support. This particular change is bigger than most and presents a number of challenges. The increased exposure to security problems and the unknown effects of this on power dynamics is significant enough that we have to regard this as harmful until more information is available.

> How can anyone categorize AMP as evil?

"Evil" is not a word I'd use. I think AMP is bad for numerous reasons, most of which are detailed in other comments. But the reason that is most relevant to your comment is that AMP makes the web experience worse for me.

> Someone else will create another amp alternative

Yes, I fear that this will happen.

> Yes, I fear that this will happen.

nobody showed an interest in making mobile websites fast even though they ve been slow for years. The whole javascript corporate ecosystem is still openly pushing heavy javascript apps even though sites are mobile-first today. only google cared

I've written a similar post on how to remove AMP from your blog, without sacrificing SEO rating and performance https://pawelurbanek.com/amp-seo-rating-performance

Imagine if Cox or Comcast came up with AMP. Same technology, same idea.

If websites use the Comcast AMP framework, Comcast will cache their sites and make them faster for users. See, it's about the users! Because the Comcast AMP framework is open, and has nothing to do with the business interests of Comcast. Comcast will give a bit to open source and have a few conferences per year to make sure developers know that it's not all about the company.

I believe the fight against AMP will not be won by users or individual action -- it will be won with legislation. What are users going to do? Plain HTML pages are on the 10,000th page, below a hundred thousand AMP tracker loaded piles of shit. It is a de-facto content restriction.

Even if I use an alternate search engine -- it's results are polluted by those of Google, because 90% of search is Google. We do not have a choice.

I'm sure a Google lawyer will successfully argue that I can recieve IP addresses in the mail via U.S. post for any odd, esoteric plain text HTML pages I'd like to visit, though.

> If websites use the Comcast AMP framework, Comcast will cache their sites and make them faster for users.

They probably do it with Netflix, some ISP do it with Steam too... there's nothing wrong with multilevel cache (except cache invalidation).

mmmh, I don't think this really holds up.

They do it with Netflix/Steam because they have to, because if they did not those services would choke bandwidth for everyone. With your Netflix example, there are maybe a dozen players with this type of arrangement -- it is the exception to the rule and has more to do with physical limitations of the network than political control. With AMP/non-amp websites, there are hundreds of millions of separate players, and no physical need to discriminate (my neighbor's network performance is identical whether I look at 2mb websites vs. 300kb websites)

I believe there is a fundamental difference between the two -- google's play is about control, not physical limitations.

> I believe there is a fundamental difference between the two -- google's play is about control, not physical limitations.

Control of what? The search result are from Google, they already have control over them. The existence of AMP doesn't make you go to Google (except if AMP is actually superior, but then any search provider can provide it too, just like Cloudflare does it now).

Comcast wouldn't do that because Comcast already flat out charges publishers like Netflix to not be deprioritized on their network. It would be analogous to Google charging publishers for top organic search positions.

> Don't use Google search.

This is easier said than done, as the other search engines are still not as good as Google, even though Google's results have been getting worse. This may be a controversial opinion, but it's not what my comment is about. I'm going to make a more scandalous suggestion.

Don't use search engines at all.

The idea that a centralized one-size-fits-all search engine is necessary is preposterous. The Web makes available all kinds of information, and unifying it all under a single data model is difficult, and doesn't even make sense. (Does anyone remember the semantic web?) Unifying the world's information behind a single search facade is likewise a Very Difficult Task (TM), one that's likely to fall into the trap of big business, as search has done, because the required resources are so huge.

But what if it's solving the wrong problem? Information of a particular type tends to gravitate to local centers of storage, so to speak, which are specific to the type of information being stored. For example:

- Encyclopedic knowledge is in Wikipedia.

- You can find places by searching Foursquare, Yelp, Apple Maps, OSM, ...

- Q&A about programming (and lots of other topics) is on StackExchange.

- News aggregators have been beaten to death, and multiple are available.

- You can search Twitter using Twitter, and Facebook using Facebook.

I can go on, but the point is clear: every single Web-connected system offers a search function of its own, one that's likely specialized to the type of information stored in that system. It'll most certainly do a better job at searching that local store, and will do so more quickly and cheaply than a centralized, generic search engine. This also avoids the moral hazard of search centralization.

This leaves the little guy: the random small website or blog, where the majority of true gems are found. Google locates these by sheer brute force: they literally index the entire web. They've taken a relative eternity to do so, but it's a problem that could have been solved by something better than mere force.

Does anyone remember webrings? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webring What if "the little guys" organized in webrings and directories? This doesn't seem like a technical problem, as a webring or directory is trivial to build. Could this be a UX problem that hasn't been solved to the satisfaction of a modern Web user? Is anyone or anything taking another stab at this?

In closing, I'll throw out one last vague notion: that of an openly federated search. How cool would that be? We don't need Google for that at all.

!bangs in DuckDuckGo enables you to do searches right on the destination website


Why even ddg? Chrome and Firefox support this out of the box in the browsers.

Most importantly, DDG comes with a host of bangs, whereas firefox And I assume chrome as well) require some configuration. Secondarily, bangs work regardless of their position in your query. At least in Firefox, they must be the first word. Finally, I can use DDG with bangs from anyone's device, that I might not want to do any setup on.

I do primarily use bangs from Firefox's address/search uni-bar, so if they added bang support from there, I would start using that feature without changing my habits at all.

Nice! I had no idea.

I like the idea, but I often find search results on the sites themselves crude and lacking. For example the wikipedia or reddit search, both are not so great.

And what about if I want to search for a band, and I don't know if they have a website, a facebook page, a soundcloud page or if they have most of their material on youtube. Do I manually need to search and check and compare different platforms until I find the one where the band chose to host their content?

And as far as the "little guy" goes, there is plenty of research on network science which shows that the (original) Page Rank algorithm does not provide meaningful rankings for anything except big guys. The algo accurately scores/ranks the most connected web pages, but scores for the "long tails" which make up 95% of the web are pretty close to random.

That thesis can’t be true as stated. I’m regularly able to find pages on sites in those 95% tails based on my vague memory of a title or important quote.

The web is large, and my processor is so very, very small.

If you're one of "the little guys" with a niche website or blog, you already host it somewhere that serves Web traffic. Answering federated search requests cannot possibly be more expensive than that, considering that your niche website or blog doesn't have more than a few megabytes of actual information.

If you're purely a consumer, I don't see how your equipment has anything to do with search at all. Searching using one system isn't more expensive than using another.

Try: https://www.startpage.com/

It uses Google search, but privacy on level of DuckDuckGo.


Are you sure it's still a valid choice (genuine question)? Most of the research around search engines seems polarised, so I'm not sure which sources to trust, even DDG is considered a data mining tool but some.

Nope. I'm not sure at all that it is a valid choice.

This is new news to me.

The client I'm assigned to has resigned themselves to using AMP. Nobody likes it, it breaks so much working code, and I personally hate it. Thankfully our SEO is top-notch, so we're doing well without it, but I'm not looking forward to implementing it.

I figured how to avoid amp as a user years ago. Switched to DDG and its bangs are very convenient. Google, in its efforts to customize user experience often gives worse search results than it did ten years ago.

Despite the tracking, I'd suggest allowing google fonts, it's not that much different than other CDN content (assuming you're only using the CSS).

Yes, and use https://webtest.app to show the world we can speed up the web by blocking ads.

Also make sure to sign the AMP letter: http://ampletter.org/

Also, Bing is really good! I'm the only guy in the company that uses it, but seriously I love it!

Bing also uses AMP. That might be why you love it.

Interesting. Maybe it is, but wouldn't I be able to see that in the url?

The AMP standard doesn't need use URL hijacking anymore: https://www.cloudflare.com/website-optimization/amp-real-url...

That is more of the same IMO: yet more code to wipe off a symptom of a problem that we created with more code, as opposed to solving the problem.

Gatsby.js could be added as a solution to make sites load faster, it's awesome what it does

How it's this not copyright infringement? Can't we fight it on those grounds?

Websites choose to use AMP because it has favourable search results.

Sorry for the dumb question, but:

What does Google gain with AMP? How does it make money with it?

Google is trying to monopolize the internet, and they also sell data / ads. So inherently "spending more time in google ecosystem" leads to inherent value.

Google makes money by people browsing the Internet. If they can make browsing easier/better/faster, they will do it.

This is why they built Chrome and Android too.

Serious question, what is a free alternative to Google font?

You can still use Google Fonts, but download the font files and host them yourself to prevent your users/visitors from being tracked by Google:



Ahhh, I wasn’t aware that it is possible to download Google fonts. Is it copyrighted though?

Directly linked on that page: https://fonts.google.com/attribution

If you run a NAS at home, you should also setup syncthing. It's replaces Google drive for your phone's camera, seemlessly.

I've been looking into doing this, have you got any pointers to setting this up? I'm trying to do it with a raspberry pi and a big external hard drive. Darned thing keeps shutting down on me though, and the pi won't boot with the HDD plugged in. Thanks for reminding me to pick up a powered USB hub...

Is the answer, just say no. ?

Here's one great takeaway:

> Treat the cause: Third-party requests slow down the web

> ...

> - Google owns 7 of the top 10 most popular third-party calls

> ...

> So you can see why there must be some kind of internal struggle at Google. They understand the value of a faster web but they also cannot go after the main cause of the slow web. And this is how technology such as AMP gets invented and makes things worse.

It blows my mind how many devs around here are devoted to their browser and search.

Stop using chrome. Honestly, wtf?! Firefox is awesome. FF dev tools are awesome. FF, like Wu Tang, is for the kids.

STOP USING google SEARCH! USE DUCKDUCKGO! Use the `!gm` google maps bang when you need it. Use the `!g` google bang in a pinch, but for all of our sake, please wean yourself off of google search.

These two steps are immensely easy to do, and yet a MAJOR investment in all of our future.

Preach brother preach!

I made this move myself many months ago & never looked back. There is basically nothing I miss about dropping chrome/ google search. My web experience is indiscernible using Firefox & DDG.

One of the only minor things I've had to adjust to is prefixing searches with my local city & state when I'm searching for things in my hometown (Imagine that! My search engine website isn't tracking my physical location!). A small price to pay for a HUGE gain in privacy & peace of mind, knowing I'm no longer being exploited and rolled up into a package, sold to advertisers.

I got so sick of seeing targeted ads in EVERY website I visit. Something I searched the day before. Maybe a website I visited a few days ago. Then I have to look at ads for those things for the next week straight!? No thanks.

After making two super easy changes, Chrome -> Firefox & Google search -> DDG, I almost NEVER see creepy, annoying targeted ads anymore. It's amazing!

It might be just me but I don't get why people on here tend to be critical about DDG's usability. I made the switch a year and a half back and I seriously don't miss anything. There are some niche cases where it doesn't work, you can just use the bangs in those cases.

The trade-off, like you said, is well worth it.

(Upon typing this, I realize I'm just echoing your comment. Either way, leaving this up to provide one more voice in support.)

When I first tried DDG - more than 5 years ago - it was worse. I was unable to find the answers I needed and ended up back at google. I tried off and on a few times over the years, and about a year ago I found it good enough to switch. The few times DDG doesn't find what I need I tried google: it too failed to find what I needed.

In short, if you last tried DDG a long time ago try again, it is much better.

The few times DDG doesn't find what I need I tried google: it too failed to find what I needed.

I used to be one of those people who when I couldn't find something on the duck would repeat the search with Google. But more and more, especially in the last six months, if I can't find it on Duck, it's not on Google, either.

Duck gives me irrelevant results to those queries. Google gives me irrelevant pop-culture results to those queries.

> if you last tried DDG a long time ago try again, it is much better.

Very much true. Even moreso as of the last 6 months DDG has been even better for some things, especially if they are political in any way. You'll find some crap sites on DDG but you'll also find what you're looking for. Sometimes I want to find crap sites or non-mainstream stuff, and only DDG surfaces that. I do fear a bit tho once DDG gains more popularity, the SEO games may not be kind to DDG.

When I use ddg I find more relevant emacs blogs than with Google, which has endless crap in their results

DDG is essentially Bing made more private, with a little Yandex. I use it, because I like the privacy, but I don't think they deserve the credit for search result quality.

Neither does google anymore though. Their search quality has gone hill dramatically in the last 4-5 years. It basically correlates with wikipedia no longer being the first result of most searches; it was largely replaced with commercialized garbage. Getting the highest quality, unbiased information you asked for isn't really their first priority anymore and it shows.

I tried DDG when it first came out and found it unacceptable. Currently though, it's totally usable and sometimes better than Google.

The reason Google, or search engines in general, seem to be getting worse in the eyes of some users, is not the result of the functioning of the engine necessarily, but rather of the content of the web itself.

The whole web is organized and optimized more and more for clicks and watch time. It would only make sense that the results seem to be correspondingly worse.

But somehow, Google, as their last act of "don't be evil", decided to appease SEO people (who were a fiercely vocal crowd shitstorming over every change designed to counter their tricks) rather than ruthlessly pull through with the fight for result quality. If memory serves me right they were actively promoting "acceptable SEO" to lure practitioners away from even more annoying tactics. And then they failed to adapt once three "acceptable" started to ruin result quality. It's anyone's guess (perhaps even to Googlers who were right in the middle of is) wether that happened because of the slow-boil effect, commitment to their appeasing promises or because of plain old corporate complacency.

PS: oh, and in a certain way skewed search results even help Google, it increases ranking mysticism. When one site is consistently high, their competitors cannot know wether that is because of artful SEO or because heavy ad-spending is invisibly tipping the scales. So they will fearfully carry their own advertising budget to the altar of search ranking instead of running ads on a competing network like Facebook. Who knows wether The Algorithm considers ad-spend or not, better not provoke an angry god!

There's no such thing as "the whole web" - it is simply sites with the most money gaming Google better, and Google being happy for that to happen.

There's a lot else on the web, it just isn't surfaced by Google as much as in the search engine's early years.

That doesn't explain why DDG's results are improving, though.

This fails to consider the conflict of interest. The more 'commercialized' a site is, the more ad revenue they tend to bring in for google, so they have a perverse incentive to bring them traffic.

And yet people are happier with the results from competing search engines...

Are you saying Google scrapes Yandex and Bing? If not, your response isn't relavant to my comment.

Google may have gotten worse, duckduckgo may have gotten better (I use DDG for most searches, so not sure) but the case for duckduckgo doesn't involve them having a great search team, since they don't have their own index.

Ah, I understand what you were saying now. Your original comment doesn't quite read like that to me so I misinterpreted it.

This is a very important fact that I feel comfortable to ignore.

One thing that I keep in mind is that Bing is not blocking DDG searches like google would, I find this commendable and, morally, a point in their favor.

I don't think it's relevant to answering the question "Should I use DDG". I do think it's relevant to know DDG doesn't provide diversity in search results.

I'm pretty sure DuckDuckGo has a contract with Bing.

> I made the switch a year and a half back and I seriously don't miss anything.

This, but more so. Starting a couple of years ago, Google search quality has fallen enough, combined with DDG's search quality rising enough, that I generally get better results from DDG than Google now.

I tried to switch over to DDG 6 months ago but wound up reverting to Google.

I sometimes end up browsing fora with poor search tools, and that is commonly when I use a search engine (that or if I'm fact checking stuff, but that's a different usecase). Duck Duck Go always ended up failing to get the results whereas Google managed to get the correct results.

I also have had similar negative experiences with DDG for searching stackoverflow. Google isn't ideal, but at least they do always end up getting me what I'm looking for. With DDG I oftentimes get completely unrelated results which just happen to match the keywords I was using.

Finally the image search would always invariably return porn on DuckDuckGo instead of things relating to the query I was looking for.

I also switched earlier this year, and my only complaint is that FF's android browser has some weird quirks with how it registers touches, and sometimes doesn't actually click a link when I tap it.

However, the value of actual ad-blocking and increased privacy far outweigh the minor frustration of this UI issue.

> FF's android browser has some weird quirks with how it registers touches

It absolutely does, and it drives me up the wall some times. In fact, try visiting this site on Firefox Android and try upvoting something. It's nearly impossible.

Double tap and swipe down to quickly zoom into the button temporarily and then zoom out again. It's fast and doesnt require two hands for a pinch gesture.

Also make sure to check "settings => accessibilty => always enable zoom"

Yep, same here -- switched to DDG a couple years ago and back to FF from Chrome [except when required for the job] a few months ago. Results excellent. I understand that a lotta folks are dissatisfied with DDG's search performance, but it's been plum dandy for me. In particular, since most of what I'm searching is development-related, my experience has been that DDG results are usually _better_ that goog, i.e., I find that sites with reasonable content and SO usually rank above ad-sodden or rubbish-quality-SEO-trap site.

I used DDG as the primary search engine in the past and relied a lot on bangs (!s, !g). I'm currently trying the new search from Cliqz (https://beta.cliqz.com), which is similar as it also supports some of the bangs, but I find the search results better than DDG, especially for German searches. It is still work in progress though. Spell correction, for example, is not good yet in cliqz.

> I got so sick of seeing targeted ads in EVERY website I visit.

Could you say if the number of ads you've clicked changed (went up or down) when not seeing targeted ads compared to when seeing targeted ads?

> Stop using chrome. Honestly, wtf?! Firefox is awesome.

I do not use Chrome, but I don't think Firefox is awesome. While I use FF, partly for moral reasons, my experience is average and I saw many flaws and bugs. I prefer the features of Vivaldi, which is based on Chromium, but does not phone home to Google.


While my default search engine is Duck Duck Go, I don't recommend it to friends and relatives. My experience is that searching in any language but English gives very poor results. Other patterns also need to be redirected to another search engine, so it's not a a smooth migration.

My estimates are that 50% of my searches are for DDG, 25% for Google, and 25% for others (Bing, Qwant), not counting specialized searches like Wikipedia. That is enough to prevent being profiled.

> I saw many flaws and bugs.

Can you tell us about (or link us to) some of the many bugs you found in Firefox?

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=594876 - 9 years old

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1210727 - 4 years old

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1010527 - 6 years old

Not to mention the weird random full-blown crashes that occur when I try to use it that I can't reproduce, no point in opening an issue for those.

It's obvious that most of those random crashes are caused by memory starvation. They should have all the telemetry they need to understand and fix it, if only by popping up an error message saying 'Not enough memory to render this page' or even Safari's maddening version of the same message ('A problem occurred with this web page so it was reloaded.')

The only explanation is that they don't give a crap. Very frustrating.

Reading the bug thread cited above, it may even be a case of, "I was able to get Chrome to crash under similar circumstances, therefore it is conforming behavior. WONTFIX."

Back when I did use FF, anytime I actually tried to report bugs I would just get the canned response, "disable your plugins and reset your user profile".

> Not to mention the weird random full-blown crashes that occur when I try to use it that I can't reproduce, no point in opening an issue for those

What platform are you using? I have used FF exclusively for 10+ years on Linux. Ubuntu and OpenSUSE every day. Nouveau and i915 every day. If I said I get 3 crashes per year in the last 3-5 years that would probably be exaggerating.

True for me as well, similar setup (amdgpu, not nouveau, except at work).

The only time FF 'crashes' is when I update while it's running, and even then it gracefully degrades and lets me know I have to restart it. With the 'restore previous session' menu option (an option that only exists in piecemeal and implemented much worse in Chrome), this is a mild inconvenience.

Chromium crashes much more frequently for me on Linux.

Exclusively Linux. I have used both Intel integrated and AMD graphics. No clue what's causing them.

So I'm not the above poster, but for me the one that killed my workflow was this still-open, 17-year-old bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=195361

And how on Earth is that a deal breaker? Selecting text from disabled fields?

a lot of websites assume that you’re using chrome and show content you have to copy in disabled text fields (with some styling applied)

Never found one and, if I did, I don't recall and that's a sign that, at least for me, is a non-issue.

I had 3 websites in the last 2 weeks (admin UI of self-hosted tools) where this issue was present, but I patched it out.

That's not really a bug - I'd say that's a product design choice. I'm surprised the ticket is still open, tbh.

The reason you'd want to select text is to select text... same inside a text field disabled or not as outside a form field. Unless you think they should just disable all text outside an active form field?

I'm not saying I agree with the implementation -- I think the text should indeed be selectable. But it's not what I would call a bug. I looked at the Bugzilla ticket type system and it should be an "enhancement" or "task", not a "defect".

This one is very annoying and has been there for 8+ years now: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/29986977/firefox-ignores...

Not OP, but here are a few simple ones I encountered that swayed me back the chrome:

1. When switching tabs (ctrl + tab), instead of simply moving there, it showed a menu. This means I need to use that tiny menu to decipher which tab I’m on, instead of the entire background.

2. When closing a full screen video playback using ctrl + w, it takes a few seconds of a black screen on Firefox vs instantaneous on chrome

3. When installing extensions, they don’t always have an icon on the top bar, this makes discovarability a pain

> 1. When switching tabs (ctrl + tab), instead of simply moving there, it showed a menu. This means I need to use that tiny menu to decipher which tab I’m on, instead of the entire background.

Now this is wonderful in my opinion because it can be configured to cycle in the order in which you visited the tab last. I currently have over 100 tabs open and it helps immensely.

I only have the third issue, but I don't consider it an issue. Plus, Firefox is faster and leaner than Chrome.

It's definitely slower for me (Linux, recent Intel with 20 cores, 32 GB RAM).

I still use it on principle. But let's not get complacent with regards to performance. That's why Chrome won in the first place.

firefox still has horrible performance and battery usage on mac.

I keep seeing this, but I don't think it is true today with latest FF. The recent updates they made have made FF on mac speedy and no more battery hungry than chrome. safari still beats all on batt though...

It's better then it's ever been before but it's not good enough. Maybe in another year or two it will be competitive but until then I can't say it's a viable option for mac.

I forced myself to use DDG for about 3 months as my main search engine... nearly 2/3 of the time when searching for technical queries I'd have to fall back to Google... I just switched back... I may give Bing a similar try though, I really like the UI tweaks the Chromium based Edge has done.

This has been my primary reason for resorting to Google too, and I just realized a few days ago that I don't really do that much anymore, DDG's technical results are getting much better.

There are still times DDG completely misinterprets my query and I have to clarify it or resort to !g but these times are becoming less frequent.

Aside.. for anything political in nature, the DDG results were much better in general.

> I do not use Chrome, but I don't think Firefox is awesome.

I agree on both counts. If newbies ask me what browser they should use, I say Firefox. But I don't use the modern Firefox myself because I simply don't like it.

> which is based on Chromium, but does not phone home to Google

Same deal with the browser I use. My preferred UI + Chromium is better for me than FF. There are three common cross-platform browser approaches: Chrome, FF, and Chromium-based. Only one of those three offers extreme visual and feature flexibility. I sound like a broken record saying it, but FF should really invest in embeddability so we can take their engine and run.

And chromium was forked from webkit.. so why not head to the source and cut off the cancer at the root?

I can't believe I just called Google the cancer, but would anyone disagree?

> so why not head to the source and cut off the cancer at the root?

For me, easy consumability. I use Chromium Embedded Framework, I don't actually put the hard work into building and maintaining an API myself. I'd love a similar effort for Gecko (there was effort at one time, but nothing of late IIRC).

Curious about Vivaldi. What does it offer on top of Chromium that you find useful?


I want to stop using Google, but please realize that DuckDuckGo is only competitive with Google if English is your only language (maybe even only if you're American?). There are loads and loads of people on HN for whom DDG is a poor experience.

In my experience DDG is extremely poor for localized results, especially those in other languages than English. Previously I recommended StartPage.com for my fellow Europeans, but StartPage has been bought by a shady company [1] and should not be used anymore either. I have no recommendation anymore.

[1]: https://reclaimthenet.org/startpage-buyout-ad-tech-company/

Indeed. Few other languages have good Google search alternative - probably only Russian, Japanese, Korean, Czech, Chinese and possibly French (I would imagine that Qwant as French company would have an ok search, but I can't be sure as I don't know French good enough). I would prefer to use just one search engine, but even using Yandex for Russian searches or Baidu for Chinese feels preferable to submitting to octopus that is Google.

> maybe even only if you're American?

Works fine in UK English too, although the "r:uk" modifier is often needed.

I never realised that existed. Does the r stand for region?


I have no recommendation anymore


Maybe searx.me is an option. Although, you’re out of luck for Safari on iOS.

Searx.me doesn't output any search more than half the time and gives you "google (unexpected crash: CAPTCHA required)" instead.

How's Qwant for you? I've been using them more frequently recently. It's made in the EU (France) but as I don't search much in other languages than English I'm not sure how good they are for that.

Maybe ecosia?

I switched to DDG many years ago and stopped needing to use Google search for anything maybe 2 years ago. The every day experience of using DDG is so much more enjoyable than Google - made clear every blue moon when I do run a Google search and see all the ads, poorly placed results, and feel the heavy weight of Google's invisible hand.

> It blows my mind how many devs around here are devoted to their browser and search.

Are they though? Or is AMP just a storm-in-a-teacup? There a handful of people on Earth that will stop using Google search (in particular) and Chrome as a protest against AMP.

> ... and yet a MAJOR investment in all of our future.

[citation needed]

Personalized search is not inherently bad. Use Google search without being logged in if you really care. Harder to do with Chrome but Chrome is actually a great user experience. It still blows my mind that FF prompts me to restart to install an update when I start it up.

No I don't want to install an update. I want to use the browser. That's why I opened it. How many years has it been since Chrome added auto-update on restart with silent updates?

Beyond Search, GMail, Maps and Chrome though I just won't use another Google service and take the risk that some automated system will decide my account is in violation of some ToS no one has ever read and shut down access to every single Google service I use.

Whoever signed off on doing this through the Google Plus boondoggle needs to be fired (although, to be fair, I think ad accounts getting suspended arbitrarily and in some cases incorrectly was already a thing by then).

> Use Google search without being logged in if you really care.

AFAIK, the search is still tailored to some degree. Log out and search for "plumber" and I bet you get local results.

Is that bad? It seems obvious to me that some contextual information will lead to better search results. Chances are if someone searches for "plumber" they're more likely to want one in their local area and not, say, in Armenia.

So the only issue is how much contextual information you want to give Google when you search for something.

I don't think it's bad. I was just pointing out that there may not be any such thing as a raw / non-personalized google search.

> Personalized search is not inherently bad.

Maybe, maybe not -- but Google's implementation of it is very much not great. It seems to ensure that I won't get the results that I'm looking for.

DDG is worse than Google for me and totally useless for any searches in my native language.

Firefox has 50% worse performance for me in WebGL applications. Media isn't also accelerated still on Linux. Where is the "awesomeness" in that? I really wish those caveats didn't exist for what I use daily.

Agree on ddg, for me it's fine since most of my searches are technical stuff, rest is !g

For Firefox, I don't see how these things matter in my use case. Admittedly I have no clue if any of the sites I use make use of webgl, but the overall speed and snappiness doesn't feel any different between the two browsers, and I use both on Linux.

I've been using Safari and Duck Duck Go for the past six months. I've also moved my email to Fastmail. Happy to become less reliant on Google.

>Stop using chrome. Honestly, wtf?! Firefox is awesome.

I think plenty of people have found Mozilla to have made some poor decisions over the years. It feels as though you have to choose between two options that aren't great, so is there a point in switching? Take the add ons situation. At least on Chrome I can run my own add ons.

I suppose my feeling is that this is the same kind of reductive reasoning behind the "same thing, both sides" mentality of American politics.

Candidate A: Multiple accusations of bribery, frequently posts racist/sexist/Anti-Semitic/Islamophobic memes on his Twitter account, and sponsored multiple pieces of reprehensible legislation during his tenure in office.

Candidate B: Refuses to tip more than 10%, ever.

One seems objectively worse than the other, and yet the average voter gets to say, "Oh, well since they're both bad in some way, I can vote for Candidate A with a clear conscience because I like his views on X."

I find it funny that you don't realize that you just did the very thing you're accusing Americans of.

That is in no way an objective statement on American politics and the comparison of the 2 party system.

The idea that American's issues with the Democratic canidates can be compared as "Refused to tip more on 10%", is moronic.

It is more like

Candidate A: Multiple accusations of bribery, frequently posts racist/sexist/Anti-Semitic/Islamophobic memes on his Twitter account, and sponsored multiple pieces of reprehensible legislation during his tenure in office.

Candidate B: Wants to Steal my money and give it to other people, wants to force me in to government contolled substandard health care, wants to take my core freedoms (speech, guns, and propery rights), and was to trash the economy so finding a job is hard

Well, if we're doing American politics

Candidate A: A career criminal who has devoted his time in office to mass corruption, stealing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for personal benefit. Not satisfied with creating the most corrupt administration in history, Candidate A began extorting foreign countries to make contributions to him personally, in the form of bribes to assist his campaign or else. When not stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and extorting allies to the benefit of our enemies, he is known for partying with notorious pedophiles like Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrews, and has over 40 credible accounts of sexual abuse or rape.

Candidate B: Believes that taxation, not monetizing debt, is the proper way to budget. Understands that the broken, bankrupting and failing healthcare system needs evidence-based reform to cost less and do more, like in dozens of other nations worldwide. Finally, Candidate B is the only Candidate at all that understands the importance of the Constitution, Rule of Law, and the freedoms of the Bill of Rights, and doesn't require special interests donations to "manage" his views on the subject. And finally, as with every politician from Candidate B's party for two generations straight, they understand how to steward an economy towards great heights not fueled by a wealthy minority getting wealthier, but by the working class getting the money and wealth they deserve.

If you're going to support a lawless, hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars stealing, Constitution-destroying, child rapist, then have the guts to call a spade a spade.

I see someone is watching too much MSNBC....

>>Candidate A: ...

I am sure you have evidence based proof of all of this correct?

>>>Candidate B:

Don't make me laugh, Candidate B is just as corrupt, and has no concept of Freedoms. Candidate B believes the Constitution grants rights, instead of limiting government, they believe there are no limits at all to government Candidate B's party is also the source of a good chunk of the National Debt given they are the ones that create the Entitlement programs that are driving this nation to bankruptcy

>I see someone is watching too much MSNBC....

All cable news is terrible, but obviously you disagree as your opinions have been written for you by Fox News opinion hosts ("Fake News"). Literally, you have expressed 0 opinions that were not written for you by Hannity or Tucker.

>I am sure you have evidence based proof of all of this correct?

Of course, if you actually followed the multiple court cases exposing this corruption, you would see the court filings demonstrating the facts of his legendary multi-hundred-million emoluments violations, enriching himself by ordering our government to spend taxpayer money at his private businesses solely for his own benefit. Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm!


Regarding Donald Trump raping children with Jeffrey Epstein, one of his victims gave a sworn affidavit to that effect.


Regarding Donald Trumps extortion of our allies to help himself personally and our enemies, he admitted it publically, but https://intelligence.house.gov/report/ details his crimes along with https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf

The corruption of Trump is at all levels, from ordering the military to drive 100 miles out of their way to spend double the market rate at his personal facilities (rank, impeachable corruption) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/us/politics/military-stop... to giving 400 million dollar sweetheart contracts to allies and donors rated "unfit" to handle the contract by our own military https://www.axios.com/trump-border-wall-fisher-industries-in...

The sad part is, all of this evidence is public and being blasted from the rooftops

Your statements here are a complete and total indictment of your fake news propaganda bubble, that you know none of them and have seen none of this evidence.

>Don't make me laugh, Candidate B is just as corrupt

This is called false equivalence. No politician in American history has been a fraction of corrupt as Donald Trump. Sorry if facts are triggering.

>Candidate B believes the Constitution grants rights, instead of limiting government,

This is hilarious nonsense. Not only is it false, but it's the kind of civically-illiterate nonsense that gets repeated on the right among folks who don't know better. The Constitution doesn't "limit" government when it creates a sovereign Congress which can pass any law including updating the Constitution. You're confusing the dual duties between the Constitution (defining government power) and Bill of Rights (limiting it).

>" they believe there are no limits at all to government"

Wrong! It's the GOP which is arguing for the "Unitary Executive" the King President who has no limits, who can "murder someone and get away with it". Wake up my man! Donald Trump views himself your King, not your President, and has waged a war against limited government and limited power unlike any war in our history! As Donald Trump ignores separation of powers, destroys the separation of powers, he has transformed the Presidency into a Dictatorship or Monarchy. The only party which believes there are "no limits at all" are currently trying to get away with crime based on the theory that the President is King!

Literally the GOP defense for Donald Trump's corruption and crimes isn't "he didn't do it" it's the famous Nixonian reply "When you're the President, it's not illegal". They literally spin his impeachable crime as being "OK" because when you're a Republican, you're allowed to be corrupt, to steal, to rape, as long as you remain loyal.

Stop fighting against limited government and start supporting our Constitution before it's too late!

> is also the source of a good chunk of the National Debt given they are the ones that create the Entitlement programs that are driving this nation to bankruptcy

Fact: The only President in the modern era to return a surplus to the treasury was a liberal. Reagan QUADRUPLED the debt. Bush left us with a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit, while Obama lowered it by 70% to $400B!

Your narrative is totally devoid of all facts. Every liberal President for the past 40 years has lowered spending by balancing the budgets, while every Republican has gone on a debt-financed spending spree.

I hope one day you can break away from your rancid, fact-less, evidence propaganda and learn how these little lies you are used to telling your buddies don't hold up to even ten seconds of fact gathering.

Literally, every statement you've made has been false, and you've not even attempted to provide any evidence to support it.

>>>one of his victims gave a sworn affidavit to that effect.

I see you confuse Accusation with evidence, a " sworn affidavit" is not evidence, it an an accusation of which our legal system demands we assume innocence until guilt is proven with actual evidence. Which is why those cases went no where because there is no evidence to support the accusations

>>>court filings demonstrating the facts of his legendary multi-hundred-million emoluments violations, enriching himself by ordering our government to spend taxpayer money at his private businesses solely for his own benefit.

This is where you may have a case, but do date no one has provided evidence of actual enrichment, given Trump claims to be hosting the events at cost, and often times it has been proven that comparable venues for events would be considerably higher in costs

Though it is not good from an optics stand point

>>>The corruption of Trump is at all levels, from ordering the military to drive 100 miles out of their way to spend double the market rate at his personal facilities

The story links does not claim double the costs, in fact is claims it was less than a comparable hotel, nor does it say Trump ordered the military to go there but rather the military personnel chose that on their own

Might want to read your own sources next time

>>>This is hilarious nonsense. Not only is it false,

Not it is not false at all, the entire purpose of the document was We the People were granted a limited number of powers to the government, that is why there are enumerated powers

>>>The Constitution doesn't "limit" government when it creates a sovereign Congress which can pass any law including updating the Constitution.

Congress has ZERO authority to update the Constitution, their authority only allows the Congress to submit to the States and the People Amendments to the Constitution. They have no power to amend it on their own. Zero, none, zilch

Congress is also not the only way to amend the constitution as the People, and the States have the ultimate power over the congress.

In your Federalist system the Congress is not, and should not be the most powerful branch. The States acting as a collective are, and should be.

>>>you're confusing the dual duties between the Constitution (defining government power) and Bill of Rights (limiting it).

No I am not, Article I Section 8 lays out the only powers granted to the government, James Madison predicted people would mis understand the Bill Of rights exactly as you have, stating

"I go further and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. "

The constitution defines a limited form a government and limited powers in scope. The Bill Of Rights simply codifies a few of the most important rights, while it does limit government, the constitution it self is also a limiting document

>>>Wake up my man! Donald Trump views himself your King, not your President

You have confused me for a Trump Supporter, I am libertarian. In 2016 I voted for Gary Johnson.

However I will say Trump was the lesser of 2 evils over Hillary Clinton (talk about corrupt), and based on the Front runners for 2020 for the Dems he will also be the lesser of 2 evils as there is no way Biden, Sanders or Warren will win.

>>>Fact: The only President in the modern era to return a surplus to the treasury was a liberal. Reagan QUADRUPLED the debt. Bush left us with a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit, while Obama lowered it by 70% to $400B!

Not fact.. Obama did not lower the National Debt at all, in Sept 2009 (9 mos after talking office) the National Debt was 11.9 Trillion, in Sept 2016 (3mos before he left office) the National Debt was 21.5 Trillion, so he added 7.7 Trillion in 8 years or about 960 Million per year in deficits

For Bush in Sept 2001 the National Debt was 5.8 Trillion, in sept 2008 the national debt was 10.02 Trillion, adding 4.4 Trillion or about 550 Million per year even adjusting for Inflation that is about 700 billion in 2016 Dollars, Thus Obama added considerably more money annually to the national debt that Bush did.

Since 1941 5 Presidents droped the Debt as a Ratio of GDP, and 1 lowered the Debt in real dollars.

Of those Presidencies, 3 were Democrats, and 2 were Republicans.

However Given that the Far left now believes Obama is a Conservative, I have a feeling they do not believe Bill Clinton, Truman, or Johnson to be "Liberal" enough for their wokeness

you find me a Roosevelt/Truman Democrat and maybe I would get behind the Democratic party again, Biden, Warren, and Sanders are not Roosevelt/Truman Democrats

Once again your post is mostly unsourced, evidenceless conservative propaganda and conspiracy.

It's riddled with mistakes (confusing deficit for debt) and downright nonsense (excusing the worst corruption in American history, hundreds of millions of dollars worth, while robotically repeating low-iq conservative propaganda about the orders of magnitude less corrupt Clintons) and finally, it demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of how Donald Trump has betrayed America by working with our enemies, extorting our allies, destroying the bonds of the west, and working in service to hostile interests.

I especially like you how refuse to look at deficits and instead look at debts, so you can award Obama the brunt of Mr Bush's $1.4 trillion dollar deficits. It's a really unintellectual move that defies the reality of the data but it works wonders on a specific type of biased person. Obama took a $1.4 trillion dollar GOP deficit and reduced it to $400B.

You understand that when you reduce the deficit, you are balancing the budget right? That President Obama balanced 70% of the budget after Bush's spending spree? And that Trump, the so called Conservative, immediately busted the deficit wide open back over a trillion during a boom year mainly to reward major corporations with legendary tax breaks? The economics here are stupid simple and you're breaking your back bending over backwards to deny the truth that every liberal in modern era has worked to balance the budget, and every conservative has gone on a debt-financed spending spree increasing deficits.

The way you reject the sources I gave you, the same sources which will grace American history textbooks for centuries to come, is breathtaking. It's always impressive how fast real sources and real evidence can get dismissed by someone parroting conspiracy theories and propaganda.

And for what purpose? Why reject hard sourcing while providing none if not to defend the most corrupt Constitution-shredding president in American history?

Call yourself a libertarian if it makes you feel better, but you don't support America.

Quote Madison if it makes you feel smart, but you'll have to skip over the Federalist Papers that speak at length about foreign influence in our elections as you reward Trump by repeating his lies and justifying his crimes.

"You find me a Roosevelt/Truman Democrat and maybe I would get behind the Democratic party again, Biden, Warren, and Sanders are not Roosevelt/Truman Democrats"

We both know you're going to do whatever it takes to help the most corrupt president in history, one who is violating the very bonds that hold this nation together, get re-elected.

It is what it is, but patriots stand up for our constitution, stand up for the sanctity of our elections, stand up for the rule of law, stand up for the office of the presidency and separation of powers. In contrast, libertarians parrot pitiful fake news Fox News talking points about "muh guns" and "corrupt Clintons" while fancying themselves some how above the average Trump supporter.

Find me a Republican or Libertarian who doesn't bow before Emperor Trump and his war against American democracy, who doesn't excuse the worst corruption in American history, who believes that the Rule of Law matters, and I'll be able to label you a liar.

> the 2 party system

The two-party system is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself.

The real problem is the first-past-the-post voting system. A FTFP voting system will always devolve into a two-party system. If we switched to some sort of ranked choice or approval voting, we'd see more options.

US politics can usually be summarized as the Evil Party versus the Stupid Party, and it isn't always clear which is which.

Candidate A: Openly racist and homophobic. Annoyingly pious. Secretly gay. Claimed to no longer have any association with the Klan after the investigative journalist published that one article. Inherited money; pretends to be a farmer/rancher. Leaves teaser religious tracts that look like money in lieu of tips.

Candidate B: Policy proposals completely divorced from reality. No primary-sponsored legislation has ever passed. Secretly a roofie-rapist. Does insider trading on privileged information. Incumbent in the safest district in the state. Habitual drunk driver, though never convicted.

That's just what you get (eventually) with winner-take-all, first-past-the-post elections. Even in states where the minority party essentially never wins, the party leadership can still be corrupt as Hell, and no decent person can hold their breath long enough to avoid the stench of it.

It is, however, a fairly good analogy for the Google v.s. Mozilla argument.

> I think plenty of people have found Mozilla to have made some poor decisions over the years.

It kills me that someone would be pissed at Mozilla for adding pocket, Chrome comes with so many damn Google centric plugins, and one little useful utility you can remove is what makes you lose it over Firefox? Come on.

Pocket really isn't the problem. Mozilla only has made bad decisions since 2011 without ever learning from any of their many, many, many mistakes.

I saw way more outrage over pocket than I should of. Mozilla is a big org. They need to figure out how to generate revenue without botching it up. On the other hand, there are plenty of Mozilla based forks that do their best to respect your privacy.

It kills me that you think Pocket is the poor decision everyone is talking about

It was one example due to the outrage I saw over when it was added to Firefox OOTB.

Yes there is a point to switching. Mozilla is 10000000x more on our side.

From a purely philosophical standpoint, Mozilla has always been the browser of "choice". Its humble beginnings never included "world domination"... and Firefox was an extraordinarily bold attempt to unseat IE. Chrome did a lot of good things in the beginning. It brought web standards to the forefront. The past few years though, the same old tired story has played out. Company gets too much market share, and subsequently believes they should own/police/decide the future of the web. In the case of Google, naturally, their motives for web "ownership/domination" are fiscally motivated. (I'm not saying this is wrong in regard to making money for their shareholders. I am saying that this often is not what's good for their average user) But that's the issue, they never promised they were doing this for "freedom" or any other reason.

>Chrome did a lot of good things in the beginning. It brought web standards to the forefront.

To be fair to Google, I think it is important to acknowledge the good things Chrome did in the beginning. I remember when it came out, and most (non - Mac users) were still using IE, it was fantastic! I remember jumping on board immediately. But for me at this point, it has become too much to bear.

At this point they are making so much money from tracking users and selling to advertisers.. who could blame them for continuing to do so? I sure can't, haha.

But after a while, I started realizing all the intrusive & creepy advertisements I was seeing were simply a result of the browser software I chose, and the website I chose do do my searches on, so I started looking for alternatives.

> I think plenty of people have found Mozilla to have made some poor decisions over the years.

How come this is brought up in the argument at all? Mozilla is very imperfect, but they're the only major browser vendor that doesn't have their own ad networks. Safari and Firefox are the only two options that 1) are not owned by a company working against browser user's interests or 2) inadvertently end up helping the dominance of a browser in category 1. And most people can't use Safari.

Mozilla has actively shown time and time again that they're there for the end user. You can be critical of the times when they made mistakes in that mission (plenty of times), but please realize who your real friends are.

When they made Yahoo! the default search engine I had to stop recommending it to non-tech folks, as I'd also have to explain how to change that.

That was quite a while ago, but that kind of thing does stick with you.

Brave is a good browser too. You can run your add-ons there.

I actually am using Brave and Chrome. They're similar enough that they more or less feel interchangeable.

that's cause Brave's running on Chromium

>I think plenty of people have found Mozilla to have made some poor decisions over the years.

And Google hasn't?

You bring up a good point. I think the reason I feel this way is that Google's screw ups didn't inconvenience my usage of Chrome, whereas Mozilla's have inconvenienced my usage of Firefox. What made me initially switch to Chrome was the UI change in Firefox. Years later I thought of swapping back to Firefox and I found out that Firefox doesn't allow me to run my own add ons without their approval.

> I found out that Firefox doesn't allow me to run my own add ons without their approval.

This is not and has never been true. What is no longer possible is the ability to sideload extensions outside of the browser by copying files into a directory because that's how dirtbags have stuck extensions that could not be uninstalled into Firefox as part of a third-party app install.

Go to `about:addons`, install add-on from file, you're done.

Are you sure? Because I just created a barebones hello world. It works fine as a temporary add-on, but I can't install it from the file. Says the add-on is corrupted.

Then I downloaded a working add-on. It worked fine when installing from file. I removed the signing information. It installs fine as a temporary add-on, but throws the same error as the hello world.

I'm pretty sure that the add-ons need to be signed by Mozilla to install from file.

You'll need to use Firefox Developer Edition, Nightly, or ESR. Then, go to about:config and set xpinstall.signatures.required to false.


You can then sideload unsigned add-ons by following these instructions:


Google has made some evil decisions, including AMP.

Except if that add on blocks Google's precious ads

Ublock/adblock/abp/etc all still works in chrome

And yet only a feature-restricted version of AdBlock will continue to function when they cripple the APIs it relies on: https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBlock-issues/issues/338#iss...

They claim to be doing this for speed purposes, but it'll actually slow down the vast majority of Chrome profiles running ad blockers.

I think the larger point is, for how long? If Google keeps restricting ad-blocking even further, maybe they'll drop even more privacy options, and dumb down more APIs.

Google/Chrome/<all other services> simply do not have your interests first, so it's a choice between Google and <everyone else (who by default track you less)>.

Desktop Chrome, yes. There's a darn good reason why my browser of choice on Android is Firefox, and that reason is spelled "ublock origin".

For now. Aren’t they floating some sort of API change that drastically reduce the effectiveness of ad blockers?

I never used chrome because I saw no reason to switch away from Firefox. I use Firefox since 2004ish. My move to DuckDuckGo came together with my decision to delete my FAcebook profile. I use Firefox containers to keep amazon and my work google apps in check. I’m very happy with this setup.

I switch to FF a few weeks ago and (this time!) haven't looked back. It's as good if not better. I had tried to switch multiple times a year for a few years, and I think now is a good time, finally.

I was going to switch to duckduckgo as you say, to realize that OH! I had switched to duckduckgo when switching to FF but had forgotten... that's... how easy and seamless it is now, I even just forgot I was not searching on google anymore.

I would say also STOP using Google Analytics, Google CDNs, Google fonts, Youtube for hosting your content and all the spying 3rd party services. It's perfectly doable to have a commercial website without them.

And if you _do_ want to use a google font, just download it from google and serve it yourself.

I tried DDG for a day on my phone. I follow stocks and will often enter "[ticker] stock" and Google search shows me that nice chart at the top.

DDG doesn't have anything like that and forces you to click into a financial website.

I had to switch back. If it added that widget, I'd probably make the switch full time.

I put in "AAPL stock" and got Apple's ticker. I put in "CGC stock" and got Canopy Growth's. "GOOG stock", got Google's ticker.

The actual queries I entered were not wrapped in quotes. So for some stocks, it's actually there. But no charts.

I also got nothing with [0], so I unblocked JavaScript and removed /html from the URL and there's the ticker at [1]. I suppose ia= is for 'inline applet' or something.

[0] https://duckduckgo.com/html/?q=aapl+stock

[1] https://duckduckgo.com/?q=aapl+stock&ia=stock

I got the ticker too but still no history chart.

Funny, you're justifying Google's strategy that e.g. Genius.com complained about: scrape and present the raw data that people want, and they'll be able to avoid another pageload, while the site doesn't get a visitor-- but wasn't that the point of SEO? It's like search engine means something else now.

Along the same lines, the first time I heard a TV commercial for Bing (~10y ago) I had very little idea what it even was but they happily promoted it as a 'decision engine', IIRC.

> FF dev tools are awesome.

I switched back about a year or so ago. There are some nice things in the FF dev tools compared to Chrome, but on the whole, even a year later I still find myself opening Chrome to do something specific here and there in dev tools.

The real challenge here is that for the most part, AMP gives a better experience to users than publishers are willing to provide. As such, Users click on AMP links and expect good things to happen. Your pitch is, "stop using Chrome so that publishers have more options for making the web slower and instrumented because it's morally right."

That is a tough sell. Users do not really care (nor should they) what publishers want to do to make sites profitable. That space is so fraught with abuse that it's not going to get any sympathy from the user side, anyways.

It's more about stop earning money, because large userbase still use Chrome and Google Search regardless of individual dev preferences.

it matters a lot though, because devs are an infulential bunch. when developers start using firefox, they optimize for firefox and promote firefox (has happened repeatedly in the past). They're less effective with DDG , because it isnt a great product

How about; stop putting profit over your customer's privacy?

You aren't the customer, you're the product...

Google is an advertising company.

What's the point of switching to DDG, though? Under the hood it's just a combination of Google and Bing, isn't it?

DDG aggregates from a large list of search engines, but primarily Bing. I don't think it uses Google at all.

"Large list". There are only Google and Bing. There are no other usable search engines that do the search themselves. (Though, I guess a few days ago there was news about a third search engine trying and kinf of working.)

This is just a sliver of the perversion created when you rely on advertising for profits. Everyone thinks free stuff is great but it means you're the product and an entire global economic ecosystem is being built on that.

I think DDG hit a sweet spot here by relying on Advertizing, BUT not personalizing ads and search results:

* ADs are acceptable to me. I just don't want creepy ads that follow me around. And data about my browsing behavior being traded in Ad networks.

* Personalize Search Results drive society appart, and lead to radicalization. Not a fan.

> ADs are acceptable to me

I would modify this to unobtrusive ads.

Ads with audio (video without audio doesn't bother me that much unless I'm on mobile, in which case it's eating up my mobile data), ads that pop into the middle of the screen, ads that run any JavaScript, etc., are unacceptable. But a simple banner on the side, even if it's an animated GIF? I'm alright with.

Unfortunately, ad networks decided that their ads are more important than the content I'm trying to view and have brought ad blockers upon themselves. And don't get me started on malvertising...

> Use the `!gm` google maps bang when you need it

That is not how it works for me. One of common things I might do is look up a place, like a bar or a restaurant or theater or whatever. When I do this in Google, I immediately get a link to the website, a link to the reviews, pictures of inside and outside and a link to the map. Right at the top of the page. With DDG, all I get is a link to the website if the place has one and possibly a link to a yelp page. I have to do multiple additional searches and then cut and paste the address into a separate tab to open the map to get the same result.

> Firefox is awesome.

Not if you’re a macOS user, in particular one that cares for automation. The lack of AppleScript (the bug report that tracks it is old enough to vote) prevents people from considering it as a daily browser. And I’m not just talking about developers. I regularly steer non-technical people away from Firefox because when they ask why my tools—which they want to use—don’t work on Firefox, I have to tell them the truth: I’d like to support Firefox, but I can’t.

one of the most trivial annoying problems with switching between the two is the difference in how bookmarking works in FF vs chrome.

I have to use chrome for work cuz of a security rule of questionable legitimacy (to me).

in FF, you bookmark a page by dragging the tab into a folder.

in chrome afaik, you have to star it and then select what folder it goes into.


Another thing, In chrome, if you context click inside of a bookmarks folder and create a new folder, it creates a nested new folder within the folder you clicked.

In firefox, thats not the case, wherever you click, i believe it creates the new folder at the top level, and then you can drag it to a sub folder. Its a small problem but if you're like me with lots of bookmarks[1], it is a pain in the ass.

[1] for example, i have a folder for every year, with a subfolder for each month, and whenever i find non-specific cool stuff, i toss the bookmark in this month/year folder. at this point i have these going back to 2016, and its become a cool sort of journal or scrapbook type thing. highly recommend this practice to ppl, and its basically the use-case of many 3rd party browser adons for bookmark management, but built into the browser by default.

anyway, long like firefox!

Do you know if you use !g whether or not the request routes through DDG (not removing tracking, but hopefully reduce ir(?)) or it's like going on Google.com?

I use DDG and "bang" myself to better results if DDG fails me. Love the amount of features.

My only complaint is it sucks at helping me spell words, especially in other languages than English.

Sadly we use Google mail at my work so probably can't avoid it completely.

It just 301's you to Google so they'll still be tracking.

For those concerned about switching from Google to DuckDuckGo, maybe this article might aid in convincing you

I ditched Google for DuckDuckGo. Here's why you should too https://www.wired.co.uk/article/duckduckgo-google-alternativ...

Firefox's lousy "profile" handling is still a show-stopper for me.

> Firefox is awesome. FF dev tools are awesome. FF, like Wu Tang, is for the kids.

FF is awesome, but have they fixed the battery issues on Macs yet? It's a non-starter for me to switch.

FF is significantly better on OSX battery than it was in the past (since v70 I believe).. however Safari is still king. I never fire up Chrome anymore on my Macbook

Having used Nightly for a month now, I can say the battery usage on macOS has vastly improved.

Supposedly, a couple of versions back.

I have switched to DuckDuckGo as mt main search engine a couple of months ago, but for complicated queries I just have to go back to Google. It's that bad.

After 6-7 years of not using google, I can vouch for this. There is just no reason to use it (I am writting this on HN, you are not the case of "just another user" by just beeing here). Their search has become mediocre due to all adwords and there was never as simple to put together a nextcloud/dovecot/postfix/searx powered server. Once I have tryed to block facebook, google, amazon ip ranges using scraped data from ASNs. It is increadible what a large piece of internet those companies have took over for their own profit. Even duckduckgo wont run (probably hosted on microsoft/amazon/google cloud), yahoo redirected me to GDPR "consent" page, which was again on microsoft/amazon/google cloud. We really dont want to live in a world ruled by their advertising engines. Fight back, block ads, on premise everything, remove google/fb/... spyware from your roms and stop pretending you have friends by number of likes on facebook. Just go away from this or we will end in corporation driven distopia you really dont want to live in.

And read this book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveillance_capitalism

It is just too late for fashion, no time for fanboyism, we blew it. We are on limit of destroying freedom of internet (I will post facebook, google and amazon ASN based ip ranges later when I come home, so you can try it on your own, it is really hilarious, from all search engines I know, only yandex was still operational. And those are RIPE records.).

Do you have any data that Google's services were the actual cause of the slowdown of websites?

Ever ran a website through Google Lighthouse/Page Speed Insights and saw that Google recommends to set proper cache timing for Google Analytics etc.? If that's not proof enough...

That is not a proof or data at all.

It's as good as any proof. Not even Google knows how to set up their pages so they are running well and are considered to be best-practice by those checking tools.

But, to be fair: At least they don't exclude their resources from Lighthouse.

Sometimes, I don't agree with n-gate and just feel home in the comment section of HN... Thanks

The rest of the time I stay away...

> Stop using chrome.

FF is great, but it's also worth pointing out that Edge has all the Google adware removed and better privacy. There was a post from Eric Lawrence detailing all the Google stuff they removed a little while back, it was about 25 separate components. There's telemetry though so make your own mind if you're cool with that.

An argument to choose FF over Edge, or other chromium based browsers is to try to maintain diversity in the browser market share. Right now Chrome dominates, but if the domination switches a split between Chrome, Brave, and Edge, there is no new diversity in the rendering and Javascript engines. Google can still push things that aren't friendly to an open and standardized web.

Did you bother to check what exactly were the components? I actually looked at the list, not related to "adware", basically stuff that Microsoft probably replace with their own stuff. (spell checking, form fill, translate etc etc.)

I didn't say they all were!

Call me when Edge is on OS X or Linux (and ideally open-source, like Firefox). I imagine a lot of the hn userbase, myself included, doesn't rely on Windows for their day-to-day work.

Edge is available at least on OS X, I'm currently running it on both of my Macs. Not sure about Linux though and I agree it'd be great if they open-sourced it.


I'm genuinely curious why you chose this route.

The chromium base is very well supported, I like and am familiar with the dev tools, and the battery life has also been much better than Firefox on OS X. I would prefer to use Firefox for everything but I run into enough small issues that I prefer to use Edge. I'd run Chrome if it didn't have so much of Google hidden in all the nooks and crannies.

> Call me when Edge is on OS X

Sure, when's convenient?


> or Linux

We'll chat again in a few weeks when that's released.

It's already in the works. This is a post from May of this year.


While I agree we need to stop using chrome, I don't know that FF is the path forward.

Mozilla's continued trend away from Openness and the foundation's original goals and more towards business objectives and corporate "morals" similar to those seen in google seems like we are just replacing one Corporate master for another with Modern Mozilla, inc

Long gone are the days of the Mozilla Foundation standing up for the users against the Corporate goliath Microsoft, today they simply adopt what ever Google wants them to provided Google calls them "standard" .

[citation needed]

> Firefox is awesome.

it is doing great now, but lost a great deal of marketshare precisely because it was a slow, bloated mess

> FF dev tools are awesome.

debatable. chrome hot code replace in debug is a great asset. mounting a local workspace to synchronize changes is situational, but when you can leverage it it's great. firefox code view's "find in files" only search linked javascript, chrome search everywhere so it can catches references in inlined javascript

I work with both regularly, for personal usage I prefer firefox, for the obvious implications, but I find a lot less friction in developing using chrome.

Firefox has “hot code replace”. At least in Nightly as of a few months ago when I first used it.

if I put a breakpoint in firefox as of now (71.0) code can't be edited, how do you access hot swapping in debug?

Do you actually use firefox for your personal usage?

FF Quantum hit the stage two years ago. Performance is now a moot point; they've had plenty of time to recoup on any market share losses from that with the new Quantum branding.

And they've been releasing dope features for the dev tools with almost every release. Check out this especially feature-rich release: https://hacks.mozilla.org/2019/12/firefox-71-a-year-end-arri...

> Performance is now a moot point

yeah, I even said it

>> it is doing great now

> they've had plenty of time to recoup on any market share losses from that with the new Quantum branding.

don't let fact get in the way of a feel good opinion, I guess


Welppp, that's a sad chart.

Though I really doubt Firefox's drop in market-share is that tied to performance. The story is more likely to be Chrome/Chromium as the default on Android, the release of Chromebooks, etc. Of course, this is just me interpreting facts with my feel good opinion.

Back to the main point at hand, though, Firefox is obviously not doing well today either according to that chart. But its performance and dev tools are top-notch.

performance, yes, dev tools are lacking all the listed features

historically speaking, Chrome got the share it got because Firefox was a memory hog and was running a purely interpreted JavaScript engine on top of a single threaded rendering engine in a time where core numbers and web app were becoming mainstream.

Hm, touché! That lines up with the timeline, though I still think Chrome's _sustained_ and _stark_ uptick in market share is due to their market dominance in every field of one's digital life.

I must admit that I've never used those missing dev tools in Chrome, as those issues are non-existent in a webpack environment (that's essentially what workspace mounting and hot code reloading is mirroring). And the search function works with all files, including inline code, as of Quantum as well.

I really doubt google will become "irrelevant" anytime soon. What most of us nerds forget is that tech products become popular when they solve real life issues for non technical people. We can sit here and debate all day what protocols are better, and which browse is cooler, and why Google is evil, because it will not become irrelevant anytime soon unless there is a better end user product. Happy bashing Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc because no one cares, really. What they care is "how to cook potato soup" showing relevant results, and having their pictures generate likes and their unneeded products delivered tomorrow.

And that's exactly the reason AMP is so popular with end-users. It's fast, and opens instantly on slow networks with your phone. End-users don't know what AMP is, and most don't know that the lightning symbol is AMP. What they know is clicking it gives them fast results, and that's what 99% of people care about.

> And that's exactly the reason AMP is so popular with end-users. It's fast, and opens instantly on slow networks with your phone.

Is that the reason, or is it that the results are at the top?

> it will not become irrelevant anytime soon unless there is a better end user product.

Most of the end users today never made a conscious choice about this, in the same way most people didn't question Windows as "the operating system" years ago. Google is pre-configured almost everywhere, its brand name is synonymous with web search and most people never even try anything else. IOW, it's not the superior quality of the end product that decides the market share today, it's sufficient quality and no good reason to switch.

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