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AMP Has Irreparably Damaged Publishers’ Trust in Google-Led Initiatives (wptavern.com)
388 points by decrypt 73 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 165 comments



Honestly at this point, if you trust google you’re a fool. It’s demonstrated itself to be unreliable, capricious, and absolutely willing to break the law if it thinks it can get away with it. Do business with them if you absolutely must, but under no circumstance should you actually trust them.


Seconded. As such, I’ve switched to Safari, DuckDuckGo, and Fastmail. But how does one escape their ubiquitous presence all over the web (Google analytics, ads)??? They’re like a creepy neighbor who keeps following you around.


Firefox and uBlock Origin is a convenient and effective first line of defense.

My personal concern is the smartphone. Apple concerns me less than Google, but not by much. Android has the better potential for full, verifiable independence-from-the-Mothership (via LineageOS, GrapheneOS, F-Droid, ...) but it all feels early, amateurish, almost like an ambitious project that advances only when capable strangers volunteer their spare time.


> but it all feels early, amateurish, almost like an ambitious project that advances only when capable strangers volunteer their spare time

Because that's literally what those projects are.


If only I had known that when I wrote my post, and used the opportunity to make a dry joke out of it by imitating someone who is guessing an answer they know to be true!

It's the end of the weekend and I want to go so deep I don't even know if I'm being sarcastic anymore.


Filtering apps like blokada are a start, I would presume


See also GNU/Linux smartphones, Librem 5 and Pinephone.


I haven't used this method for Google, but I have blocked some other domains using hosts file entries.

Here is an example for Google: https://superuser.com/questions/1135339/cant-block-connectio...


I am using and paying for NextDNS together with Firefox and uBlock Origin. Pretty painless setup.

It works pretty well and as I have setup NextDNS to be the DNS resolver used by my access point, the family get the benefits of it without knowing about it. On the mobile, you need to set it up as VPN, this adds clutter in the notifications area, my kids do not like that.


I'm using Blockada on Android. It's also a VPN. Sadly Android allows only one VPN (don't know why) so I can't have Blockada running when I connect to a customer VPN.


Firefox is also really worth checking out again.


They still have you with Android OS on many phones, and if not with Google Analytics tracking firmly embedded into most sites on the web...

Occasionally I like to fake wild conversations and go to completely out of character sites and locations just to throw their algos and tracking of me off. It's the only real way I can protest any more. :/


Turn on Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox: it shims GA so that websites that expect the API to be there still function, but nothing gets loaded from Google.


Pi-hole, DNS66, uBlock Origin


NextDNS has a “No Google” list but it definitely takes some getting used to. Even though you’re aware of Google’s stranglehold on the internet it’s a bit jarring. I didn’t realize just how pernicious Google was until I blocked them completely.


I believe Safari is underrated these days. I really like the tab grouping and syncing that they just released. Except for dev, I still use Chrome/Brave and Firefox for that.

I also use the three technologies you mentioned. Fast mail has been great.


Could install a Pi hole to block them off your home network entirely.

But yeah, I'm also phasing out my google usage. Personally getting off gmail and professionally migrating off firebase and already refuse to work with GCP in any capacity.


On websites, drop GA for “simple” server stats. Or one of many options now available.


Hosts file on Linux (also works on Windows for those still stuck there).

Something like Lockdown on iOS (works nicely even on unrooted devices like mine.)


DNS-level blocking of Google bullshit on all your devices and/or directly in your router


As a middleman, it is in Google’s interest to commoditize its complements, namely the publishers. Given how the incentives are not just misaligned but actually completely opposed, it was always the height of folly for publishers to assist Google (or Facebook).


>Honestly at this point, if you trust google you’re a fool.

And same rest of FAANG. Though Apple and Netflix still seem to be evil-lite for now


Maybe we should call it MANGA now.


I know you’re joking, but I’m going to oppose that on prudential grounds. I don’t want a form of entertainment I enjoy mixed up with a grouping of companies people are incredibly critical of. Ruins the Google results too.


I was joking, but since we're here,... MAGNA?

Edit, oo, I got it: MAANG. That way we can say, "Come on, MAANG!"


Well I don’t know if you intend the M to be Microsoft or Meta, but if you want to incorporate both: MAGNAM.


Or MAGMAN (can either be read as "the magnetic man", superhero origin story to be determined), and it is also the Swedish determined form of magma (so literally "the magma").


Nice, I like it.


Corporations, NGO, governments and any 3rd party person or group capable of treating you as an anonymous other is the untrustworthy world we find ourselves.


> The complaint states that AMP’s speed benefits “were also at least partly a result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a ‘nice comparative boost.‘”

Be evil.


As someone who cares about page load times and reads the news, I’ve never seen this


Publishers did not want to have to refactor their page templates with a bunch of AMP markup to please Google.

For most companies, it was a question of whether they were OK risking being left behind if other publishers got favourable treatment running stories on AMP validated pages.

This comes back to Google's domination of both search and Adwords. And it comes back to the unfortunate reality that people don't want to subscribe or otherwise compensate websites for putting out information for free.


Contextual ads were generating revenue before google had access to every single http request


Heh, when I watched the Chrome Summit recap video earlier this week, when they talked about the Privacy Sandbox developments, I remember thinking to myself “This is all cool, but I don’t trust you”. xD


You might not trust Google, but you cannot stop doing business with them unfortunately. If you are a publisher you need Google's traffic, and if you don't play by their rules you run with disadvantage with your competitors.


It was clear that Google had turned to the dark side when Eric Schmidt first spoke at the Search Engine Strategies conference in 2006. Until then, SEO was the enemy. Google and Yahoo had previously sponsored a conference in 2005 on squashing search engine spam.

What's new is that Google has now managed to alienate ad-supported publishers, their paying customers, as well.


Because they can. They have no competition.

Like MS in the 90'.

Don't worry, in 20 years, all their PR will say they are your best friend again. They will be the underdog for some unforseen reason, and will suddenly call for respecting your private life, encrypting everything and give power to the user.

The way MS does it for open source today.

It's the circle of life for corporations.


Yup like oil and car companies going "green(TM)"


This by no mean a defense of Googke et al...

To be fair, we (the public) have been complacent and complicit. We so often opt for convenience and "personalization" and "free" without pausing to consider the implications. We write it all off as inevitable even though that's not the case. Google and such will take that continue to nudge it further and further in their favor.

"The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" is an amazing - and sometimes boring :) - dive of both depth and breadth. It altered my lens for the better.

https://theintercept.com/2019/02/02/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-s...


Perhaps now people understand why they were booted from China.


China: "Crushing people under an iron fist is our job, not yours Google"


Google never wanted to enter that market under the current conditions.

( Give up your IP)


Speaking to engineers at Youtube, their sentiment was similar. They felt when they took off the posters of 'don't be evil', it was a turning point.


> What's new is that Google has now managed to alienate ad-supported publishers, their paying customers, as well.

Huh? No, "ad-supported" means these publishers are getting paid to display these ads, not paying for anything, so they aren't customers. They're getting paid, which means they're suppliers. (What they supply is the eyeballs, yours and mine and everybody else's, that consume the ads.)

In business, "the customer" is the one who pays for a good or service they wish to acquire: Here, that's the advertisers.


I don't like AMP, but I like this headline less. That is classic media trolling. They don't know what "publishers" actually feel about Google and there is no evidence than anything is "irreparably broken". It is actually remarkable how quickly businesses forgive and forget.


During the last antitrust suite against Google it was confirmed that Google developed AMP to combat header bidding in order to protect their price arbitrage cut in their ad exchange. Publishers are now weaponizing against Google.


Isn't the antitrust suite still ongoing?

I thought we're still talking of accusations, not proven facts (tho I believe them true).


AFAIK those weren't claims, as the claims aren't that specific: they were revelations that came from discovery that will be used as evidence to attempt to defend the claims.


You are right they are largely allegations. I just checked, and it's not like we have smoking gun emails in disocvery as far as I can tell, though happy to be mistaken.

>249. The speed benefits Google marketed were also at least partly a result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a “nice comparative boost.” Throttling non-AMP ads slows down header bidding, which Google then uses to denigrate header bidding for being too slow. “Header Bidding can often increase latency of web pages and create security flaws when executed incorrectly,” Google falsely claimed. Internally, Google employees grappled with “how to [publicly] justify [Google] making something slower.” [0]

[0] https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nysd.56...


You’re right: those were claims that the state attorneys general are comfortable defending in court so presumably they have pretty good evidence but we’ll see how they hold up under defense.


That said, as a CTO Google has irreparably damaged any faith I had in them doing any kind of open anything without sinister ulterior motives


The author is a publisher, by definition.


If they are really displeased with Google, and I'm sure they are, they should run a campaign to invite users of their sites to install a browser different than Chrome. If they manage to destroy Google's quasi monopoly on the browser they'll make Google less powerful overall.


Maybe developers could stop designing websites that only work on Chrome too?

I'm tired of seeing "your browser is unsupported" and denied access while using a chromium based alternative. Or broken features because someone had to have their bells and whistles


> I'm tired of seeing "your browser is unsupported" and denied access while using a chromium based alternative.

It's like Internet Explorer all over again! Why would anyone do this?


I’ll name names: I can’t use Safari to log into a website that uses Auth0 because its authorization flow depends on cookies working the way Chrome wants them to. I’m using Safari’s default cookie settings and not going out of my way to disable or block them. Their notes give instructions on how to “fix” Safari by disabling ITP, which I’m not gonna do.

We need to use the business website that Auth0 logs us into, but I’m not touching Auth0 until they fix their stuff to work with more privacy-respecting browsers. I can appreciate how difficult that may be from a technical point of view, but as an end user, no thanks.


What websites do that? I'm sure they exist, but I've not come across them on Firefox for a few years now. Certainly not tiring of them.


Im not necessarily talking about Firefox (which i don't use.) Of course on the spot I'm not able to think of a big list, but my bank, the payroll company my employer uses, and Hulu.

Opera is basically Chrome, and supports the same features, but alot of websites will complain to high heaven, or somehow find a way to break a feature due to whatever it thinks the useragent means.


> Or broken features because someone had to have their bells and whistles

Like it or not, at least Google blazes ahead and brings new features to the browser sphere. It's not like innovation can be expected from Firefox any more, not with them cutting costs on the development team.


Keep telling yourself this. AMP, FLoC, Portals, etc are all browser “innovations” too, are you glad those came around? So many of their features are purely to give Google more ad revenue and power over the internet. I’d be willing to bet that the main reason they fund so much non-ad innovation is to overwhelm any potential new-comers to the browser space and stifle competition (even Microsoft gave up). But too many developers buy into the idea that being able to use the newest Array.findLast() API is somehow crucial to the success of their web product and thus help perpetuate the Chrome monoculture.


If someone says AMP is bad because there's some better project for accelerating mobile pages, I'm all ears. If they say it's bad because web pages are fast enough, I'd tend to favor "bias for action", but I could imagine being convinced by something like Dan Luu's parting shot (https://danluu.com/web-bloat/) that a big new standard hurts other people trying to solve the underlying issue.

If someone says it's bad because corporate interests shouldn't push innovation... well, I'd like to understand why they're okay with the explicitly bought and paid for OpenJS board seats, or the permanent corporate tetrarchy for HTML. A lot of developers seem to have unrealistic expectations about how software governance works.


> If someone says AMP is bad because there's some better project for accelerating mobile pages, I'm all ears.

http://bettermotherfuckingwebsite.com/


> AMP, FLoC, Portals, etc are all browser “innovations” too, are you glad those came around?

At least for AMP, I indeed am glad because it finally forced the big media houses to provide pages that didn't suck ten freakin' megabytes off my 50€/2GB data plan (yeah, that were German mobile data prices until not too long ago!) for a single page load with under 10KB of actual content.

I'm not particularly liking the situation, but the fact is that the only entity able to actually force change is Google.

ETA: Sorry, I forgot Apple who managed to get the Web rid of the proprietary, expensive (for authors) and insecure scourge that was Adobe Flash, but that was about the only progress that came from Apple. I'm not counting PWAs because Apple utterly failed to make web apps actually competitive with App Store apps for profit reasons!


A vast majority of websites do not need bells and whistles, especially when it breaks simple things like links, scrolling, or the back button.

The end effect is a broken, incompatible web.


What are the biggest features from the past decade?


To name those I use in my daily work: WebRTC, img srcset, the video element, WebASM, media queries, CSS animations. I haven't had the chance to play with the new authentication stuff (Yubikey) yet.

Yes, some of that, e.g. srcset, animations and media queries, was possible using Javascript... but god, it was awful to use, even more awful to debug (especially "stuttering" issues or unresponsive pages due to some animation locking the render thread) and, worst of all, a couple tabs with JS animations open and you could watch your battery go empty faster than the gas needle of a BMW X7 on a German Autobahn!

The only thing that is still, for now over than thirty years, needing massive effort is HTTPS client certificates.

ETA: And... best of all, Chrome and FF forced people to regularly update, meaning the days of supporting a browser that hadn't seen an update in a decade (IE6) are gone. Mobile devices aside, you only need to take about half a year worth of browser versions to test, and cross-browser compatibility issues have all but vanished for standard stuff (with the notable exception of Apple).


> To name those I use in my daily work: WebRTC, img srcset, the video element, WebASM, media queries, CSS animations.

Sounds like you're in the business of making that crappy web bloat the rest of us despise. Which makes your whining about "download ten megabyte for ten kilobytes of content" doubly ironic.


> To name those I use in my daily work: WebRTC, img srcset, the video element, WebASM, media queries, CSS animations.

The majority of these things are not from Google/Chrome and not from this past decade.

<img srcset> was first introduced by Safari and proposed by Apple to the WhatWG in 2012; I believe for their iPhone 4 with the 2× Retina display. But Webkit was already thinking in 2006 about High DPI.

https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-whatwg-archive/2...

https://webkit.org/blog/55/high-dpi-web-sites/

The <video> element was first proposed by Opera to the WhatWG and standardised there. I believe the first big adopter was Safari on iPhone, because of no Flash, of course.

https://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2007-Fe...

Media Queries were first proposed and specced by Håkon Wium Lie of Opera in 2001. (Good) Browsers for the first years implemented just a subset of that feature (the media types). In 2007 Apple released the first iPhone and adopted the media queries syntax, especially the viewport width and height which made the former mostly unknown specification more popular.

https://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-css3-mediaqueries-20010404/Ove... https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/Ap...

CSS animations (and transitions and transforms) were proposed by Apple in late 2007 after implementation in Safari:

https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2007Nov/0090....

https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2007Nov/0080....

I thought I remember that Apple first used these technologies for Mac OS X‘ web-based Dashboard widgets but in retrospect that must have been <canvas>.

WebRTC and WebASM seem to be more Chrome things, yes, and from the past decade.

(I don't have a big point; just some annoying memories of following web standards in that decade more closely than now.)


Hmm, I remember hearing this same argument about IE decades ago. Look how that worked out.


When was Micro$oft ever accused of being too innovative - or rather, innovative at all?!

From what I remember, web developers (including me) were so utterly pissed about IE6 being in a state of a years-long feature freeze that Firefox and later Chrome actually had their chance to rise.


Chrome’s stronghold on the web and their ability to delay the death of the cookie allows advertisers to continue doing micro targeting and thus paying more per impression. Publishers would be shooting themselves in the foot if they steer users away from Chrome.


If they’re paying more per impression how is that shooting themselves in the foot?


I'm a Googler, not working on ads.

The idea is that the advertiser ultimately wants to buy a certain amount of conversions. With their ad budget being roughly constant, better targeting means that you need to show fewer ads of that advertiser to get to that point. So, you're decreasing the denominator, increasing cost per impression.

This is obviously oversimplified, because actual payment happens at the intermediate step of click. But the inherent feedback loops finally work out to the above.


> the advertiser ultimately wants to buy a certain amount of conversions

That's not right at all for a large segment of advertising: the cheaper conversions are, the more most advertisers are willing to spend.

Imagine I currently earn a marginal profit of $10 on each conversion (widget sold etc): this means roughly I'm willing to pay up to $10 for a conversion that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

Conversions that cost more than $10 are definitely not worth it to me. I have some appetite for conversions that cost close to $10, but at some point I run into (likely temporary) capacity constraints and my marginal profitability decreases. The cheaper conversions are, the more I can continue to increase volume, and so the more I'll spend.

Additionally, internet advertising is competing with other forms of advertising, and advertisers want the most cost effective medium. Increase the cost of a conversion, and the marginal advertiser shifts away from online ads.

One way to see this is to imagine that instead of talking about online ads we are talking about any other product. Raise the price (cost per conversion) and people will decrease the amount they buy.

(Disclosure: I work on ads at Google, speaking only for myself)


>Raise the price (cost per conversion) and people will decrease the amount they buy.

This is just a form of supply/demand curve.

The issue here is Google controls most of the market, giving them far more power to optimize the supply curve to maximize Googles profit leaving the consumer no other competitor to fall back on to lower prices (FB maybe?, more likely to collude and keep prices high).

Google cannot act like ads are 'any other product' where there are healthy, competitive markets.


Publishers sell ads, they don’t buy them.

That said, Google and Facebook captured most of the value from targeted advertising and left only crumbs to publishers, so they don’t really have an incentive to maintain the status quo. The use of invasive tracking technology is forced onto them by advertisers.


advertisers pay more per impression when they can target better. Publishers show ads and get paid from advertisers. (simplified)


The problem is, the really big publishers have a cachet to the point where ad targeting works against them.

As an advertiser, why would I pay big money to target an ad to the affluent New Yorker reading audience when I can target those same people for pennies on the dollar on other websites?


'Brand Safety'... advertisers are very keen on this. They don't want their ads being flung across the dregs of the internet. Take grindr as an example... this app was blacklisted by most advertisers not because of homophobia, but because they don't want their brand appearing next to potentially pornographic content.

The same happened when covid first broke out. Brand conscious advertisers didn't want to be associated with any covid-related content, no matter what the context.


Advertisers pay publishers per ad impression.


Of all the 3 browsers, Chrome is the only browser that defaults to allowing third-party tracking cookies, so they could only promote one of those Chromium clones.


I remember EULALing my privacy away because Chrome was fast and freaking awesome. Now I have to block AMP links. I was once naive, now I'm more willing to deal with firefox


I swear google outright punishes you for using Firefox with any of their services. Major annoyance for me right now is paste is broken on their terminal emulator when connecting to a Compute Engine VM instance over SSH.


Oh, they won't do it blatantly, but every thing will be broken in small, barely noticeable ways - just one feature here that uses a chrome-only non standard API, just one invisible div here that destroys performance on Firefox but not on Chrome - that add up to be annoying. I clearly remember when I had to use Google Sheets heavily for work, a bunch of small yet grating bugs pushed me over the edge into using Chrome just for it. These are widely documented issues, and every time they draw scrutiny someone at Google will say "oh no it's just a bug, we'll fix it asap", and then they'll break something else. Again, and again, and again. To the point where one of the most popular extensions FF mobile just changes your user agent to Chrome's to get a flat out better search experience.

And it works, because now even large companies like Slack just don't care enough about Firefox to support major features on it.


I tried changing the users in our gsuite organization in safari a few years ago. Pretty much a core feature. And it was so broken on safari that I couldn‘t change the users.

I don‘t think it was malicious, but still incredibly bad considering gsuite/chrome connection.


Admittedly Safari is like IE of old though, always behind on standards and broken. Apple wants you on native apps.


Google is so good at ad domination they have free space in your head. Safari has a different development process which considers privacy, power consumption, and other user-centric ideas instead of just “how do we beat everyone else down in order to have better ad dominion over the internet”. You talk of standards, but in the time of WHATWG there really aren’t any, just ideas that vendors may or may not implement. If something is in Chrome but both Safari and Firefox have rejected it, do you really consider that a standard?


This is a narrative (very heavily supported by google btw) that really needs to die.

Safari is decidedly neither behind nor as broken as the narrative suggests.

Safari ships about as many WebAPIs as Firefox does, and no one blames Firefox to be "behind on standards". More, Firefox is increasingly siding with Safari when deciding not to implement certain Chrome-only "standards".

Also see this nice take over at Quirksmode (and follow the links): https://www.quirksmode.org/blog/archives/2021/08/breaking_th...


Safari's slow release cadence (typically tied to OS version upgrades) does leave it more broken and for longer than Firefox, Chrome, Opera and other browsers that are updated more frequently and not tied to the OS.

just recently i ran into incompatibilities with Safari < 14 needing a shim due to still having the old-spec MediaQueryList api:

https://github.com/leeoniya/uPlot/issues/538#issuecomment-87...


> browsers that are updated more frequently and not tied to the OS.

This is true. Apple's inane insistence that everything has to be updated only once a year is truly baffling.


These past years Safari gets two releases per year, the big one with the release of MacOS in fall and a .1 spring release, adapting web technologies and sometimes extra releases tied to other Apple events and Apple proprietary APIs

I'm somewhat sceptical about evergreen browser, but that's mostly because I hate having the user interface changed under me without any action on my part. I would have hated to get the Safari 15 Beta just by opening my browser in the morning. A better update strategy seems to me to keep the big UI changes for a yearly update; but update the web engine somewhat more often, bi-monthly or so.


> A better update strategy seems to me to keep the big UI changes for a yearly update; but update the web engine somewhat more often, bi-monthly or so.

I can't emphasize strongly enough how much I agree with this.


>always behind on standards

That's awful!

Why can't we as a society add code to web browsers faster?

ADDED. I use sarcasm very sparingly, but in this case, I can't think of another way to make my point that is not a lot longer.


I do not use the YouTube app on my iPhone, I only browse YouTube in a private window through Safari. And I notice little “inconveniences”. For example, I can’t drag the selector text over more than one word in the search bar like I can everywhere else. The videos will always default to the lowest quality setting, and only offer 720 P as the highest (even when logged in). When you auto play the next video in a playlist, the playlist loads that video, but the scroll location is all the way at the very top again. Google is really good at powdering lots of little inconveniences all over for you when you try to break away from them.


I think what you write is true, as I experienced it myself seemingly being that way. And then you have that smug colleague, who uses Chrome "because it is so much faster" and wondering why you still use Firefox or alternatives.

No matter whether we ascribe it to evil or the sheer incompetence of Google engineers (the job which so many proud themselves for as in: "I worked at Google!" lol), it remains Google's fault and not the fault of things they subtlely try to push it to.


This is beautiful. It is just likeS with all the hacks in Windows that made their software utterly reliant on each other being still standing. Then when the paradigm shift came, none of their technology (nor culture) was able to advance fast enough and we are here today.

It made Microsoft utterly wealthy and able to survive for another decade until they were able to transition to services, so not everything is rosy. But, they are not the only option anymore.

With another paradigm shift, Google won't be either.


Yep. Running into issues all the time in YouTube, Gmail, gdrive. Lasts for months at a time. In my case almost all related to blocking third party cookies and such, not Firefox per se. Just makes me use Google services less.


Let me push this again: Chrome, sans Google. My main browser is Firefox, but this will do in the few cases I "need" Chrome.

https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium


+1, and build from source if you can. I do on Gentoo, but then again, that's the point of Gentoo...


>what he identified as Google’s “vision for the web’s future and examples of best-in-class web experiences.”

I'm not sure Google should be the only one to decide the web's future.

Since they quasi monopolized the browser, they act like they own the web.


Owning the browser that the majority use means they basically do own the web.


I wonder how many Firefox downloads a week originates from HN these weeks.

Also, recent research has svown me that people on Slashdot doesn't like Google Chrome either.


Every Firefox thread is filled with how sucky Firefox is, too. Might be driving just as many people to stay on Chrome.


Recognizing that Firefox is sucky is the first step to make it unsucky.


Yet if all you ever do is talk about how sucky it is, then you're effectively just part of the PR wings of Firefox's competition.


Telling someone he might have a grave disease might convince him to go to a doctor and seek treatment.

Firefox is not dying because HN users criticize it. HN users might even use Firefox in a greater proportion than the general public.

We try to protest, we try to raise awareness of the current situation.

If instead of doing that we would actually said that Firefox is dead, it would be more detrimental. Users will try it and make a lot of bad publicity. Mozilla Foundation management will use it to demonstrate they are doing a great job while continuing putting Firefox in danger.

We can't take ownership of Firefox but we can pressure towards it getting better stewardship.


Sure, keep telling yourself that you're the real hero. If folks like you really meant make a positive difference, you would have by now. Instead you endlessly try to take credit for "raising awareness" and "pressuring", which in reality just means leaving the actual work to others. You give yourself every excuse to not contribute anything tangible, then you blame them for failing while acting like some neglected oracle. Good on you for showing us how much better you are.


>Sure, keep telling yourself that you're the real hero. If folks like you really meant make a positive difference, you would have by now. Instead you endlessly try to take credit for "raising awareness" and "pressuring", which in reality just means leaving the actual work to others. You give yourself every excuse to not contribute anything tangible, then you blame them for failing while acting like some neglected oracle. Good on you for showing us how much better you are.

I don't get why you use a so dismissive tone? I replied to a comment that wasn't just about me but about all HN users criticizing current state in which Firefox is.

What do you expect from us? Donate money to a mismanaged product so the management can raise their bonuses? Quit our jobs and start forking Firefox?

Nobody is a hero. Just some people are not sticking their heads in the sand because sticking heads in the sand wouldn't help.


> Donate money to a mismanaged product so the management can raise their bonuses? Quit our jobs and start forking Firefox?

To make it worse you cannot donate towards the product, only towards the management (!)

They are quite clear about this if you ask the right questions, but not until then so I guess a lot of people think they have donated towards the browser and have instead sponsored the foundation that milks the browser company dry (seriously USD500M a year is quite some money).


OT: Snart är det jul. Mmm, skinkstek...


I would only like a bit more than the endless negativity, that's all. If you can't even offer that much, then why would I ever expect anything more?

It's easy to blame others and excuse yourself, but if I could find the will to get a job at Mozilla to try to help the company to a better end, then why can't some of you folks who always act like you have all the answers?

If we aren't willing or able to do better than Mozilla, then we're stuck with the Mozilla we get, no matter how much we complain about it.


> if I could find the will to get a job at Mozilla

Is that a purely hypothetical if, or another way to say "since I could..."? If the former, then what gives you more right to criticize the GP than they have to criticize Mozilla?


The latter. This isn't about freedoms or who is better than who. It's about being part of the change you want to see, versus dragging everything down with endless negativity. I'm no one special, but I at least put my money where my mouth was. I know there are others who could do the same, yet they choose not to because it's easier to merely act like they care.


The saddest thing of all is: Up until relatively recently Firefox was a lot less sucky, but then Mozilla quite deliberately suckified it.


Oh well, there's no harm in trying Firefox.

For anybody who are similar to me and has a similar workload, Firefox is still much better, it just isn't order of magnitudes anymore.


IMO it isn't even "much" any more.


Not just the browser. They also own text search, video search and display advertising.


> I'm not sure Google should be the only one to decide the web's future.

I'm sure Google should not decide anything at all. We should decide what's right and impose it on them.


As someone mentioned directly in this blog post I can tell you where I came from with the event at least. Trust. Making sure developers know what we're working and why we think it's important and when we can show everyone the data to back up our rationale. I think we still have a long way to go, but it's something I've always strived for my team (devrel) to do.

I felt that it was important to ask these questions on the AMA (there was a fair few in the sli.do in other areas around trust) that centered around all the different pieces of work we do but also knowing that we're not the AMP team we can only answer with our perspective - we try to do everything in the open and developers should rightly judge us on how well we do. I do encourage people to check out the blink process as a place to keep a check on what we are thinking about.


There is no fancy Latin name for the error of giving known liars the benefit of the doubt, but there should be. Google has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and your protestations that you work in a different department provide negative reassurance.


As a former Googler responsible for some of its first developer products, this AMP story has been really disappointing. If the allegations are true, what an embarrassment. Imagine making your career out of promoting AMP to developers and lying to them. Imagine being the engineer who inserted the one second delay for non-AMP ads.

(I left Google many years before AMP was ever a thing, so no inside knowledge.)


As for "irreparably damaging trust," better late than never! It was pretty obvious from the beginning that AMP was going to be an anti-competitive piece of shit. (Though throttling non-AMP ads might be a bit more brazen than I personally expected.)


Haha, this is nonsense, they will continue to ride every initiative Google come up with as it’s almost certain to increase revenues or at least not decrease them compared to participating competition!


This seems like a false headline. The article doesn’t point to a single publisher who says they’ve lost trust in Google-led initiatives. They quote some software devs with anti-Google takes, but the only actual publisher they talked to doesn’t seem to have an issue.


This author still trusts Google with her readers data as she uses Google Analytics and Google Tag manager.


This sounds like it was carefully crafted by a lawyer:

“We received no funds from Google for the project,” a spokesperson for Automattic said when asked if the company was compensated as a partner in this effort.

There are ways to be compensated without receiving funds.


I've been seeing a lot less AMP URLs but I still see about 1 per week...


I've been seeing more apple.news URLs.


Where do you find apple.news links on the web? Or are they being sent to you by people?

Not being argumentative, I’ve just never came across a link to an Apple News article.


Being sent them, yeah.


I don't see them posted on Reddit or HN... (at least not in the top posts)


Absolutely... for a week or so


But they will jump on whatever the next bandwagon is if it gives them a SEO/traffic/SERP advantage.


>Announcements and discussions on hot topics impacting the greater web community at the event included Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, improvements to Core Web Vitals and performance tools, and new APIs for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).

Stop trying to make PWAs happen. It's not going to happen.


It's somewhat off topic but why do you say this? Is it the 'progressive' issue or the 'web app' issue. My view is that a browser is a really good way to deliver applications - in fact, I prefer them to any other form of application. I'm not too hung up on the whole 'progressive' thing these days but a NoJS application still has it's benefits.


> Is it the 'progressive' issue or the 'web app' issue[?]

For me: Both.

> My view is that a browser is a really good way to deliver applications - in fact, I prefer them to any other form of application.

Eeurgh.


>It's somewhat off topic but why do you say this? Is it the 'progressive' issue or the 'web app' issue.

It's the Google issue. They've been shoving these APIs down our throats trying to make it happen solely to build up the Chrome ecosystem. Firefox does not and will not ever support them, and they will never become an actual web standard, although Google has tried to present it as such.


Firefox does support them though (but only on mobile), which makes it seem like there isn't a principled argument against them


My trust in AMP can be summarized as the "ampproject.org" one liner in my proxy blacklist.


As much as I despise Google and AMP, the one upside to AMP was it allowed you access to almost every online news article that was behind a payroll. You could just Google the title of a paywalled article, click on the AMP version, and view the whole thing.


Publishers should never have trusted Google in the first place, seeing how they're feeding from the same pie, and Google wants more of that pie. That's like trusting the Green River killer with a brothel. Even if nothing happens right away, eventually you'll regret it.


The author seems to not understand AMP at all. AMP ads on AMP pages get to render instantly because they are prerendered and only trigger impressions when they are viewed. Non-AMP pages aren't prerendered because they would count as an impression even if they aren't viewed. You could call that a "nice comparative boost," but there is nothing sinister about that. https://amp.dev/about/ads/

I don't even work on the web professionally, and even I can figure this stuff out. It's really not that hard.


> AMP ads on AMP pages get to render instantly because they are prerendered and only trigger impressions when they are viewed. Non-AMP pages aren't prerendered because they would count as an impression even if they aren't viewed.

This is not even wrong. I'm sorry; I never post just to criticize someone's comment. But yours was the top comment on the page and was, in addition to being wrong, condescending to an author who is clearly very knowledgeable (I say that as a web publisher who has monetized with ads for more than a decade).

From the article:

> [The recent DOJ lawsuit against Google] claims that Google falsely told publishers that adopting AMP would enhance load times, even though the company’s employees knew that it only improved the “median of performance” and actually loaded slower than some speed optimization techniques publishers had been using. It alleges that AMP pages brought 40% less revenue to publishers. The complaint states that AMP’s speed benefits “were also at least partly a result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a ‘nice comparative boost.‘”

This is a very big deal and a huge trust buster, and a giant dick move by Google against publishers. It's literally an evil act by a company that said Don't be Evil. The article is spot on that AMP has irreparably damaged publishers' trust.


It decreases load times for sites pulling in 20+ third party scripts. The purpose of AMP is to cut away that hot garbage. Sadly it hasn't worked at shaming these poorly designed sites into correcting their ways.


> The purpose of AMP The stated purpose of AMP was to cut down load times. Does it do that? Sure. But the class action suit alleges that the intended purpose of AMP was to interfere with header bidding for ad placements in order to abuse Google’s monopoly power.


and what the lawsuit is alleging is that the opposite is also true: that AMP increased the load time for sites which load advertisements faster than AMP ads and "cut away that hot garbage" themselve, by introducing a preload delay for content to render


That is not the purpose of AMP, that’s the superficially plausible line used to sell you on it.


Yes. A trojan horse has to be pretty, else nobody will pull it inside their gate.


> This is not even wrong.

I provided a link that explains exactly how it works. The reason it's not even wrong is that it's absolutely correct. I say that as somebody who has actually read some AMP docs and understands the value proposal of same origin serving for prerendering.

> This is a very big deal and a huge trust buster

It would be if true, but blindly trusting the prosecutor is a huge patsy move on the author's part. They have no clue what the mechanism is. I provided it.


AMP literally has a built in 1 second delay to render outside of Google, non AMP content, that is the "Nice comparative boost".

It has nothing to do with "pre rendering" its built right into the CSS.


how is this done in CSS?


AMP sites have a 8 seconds-delayed CSS animation on the body element, turning visibility from hidden to visible.

This animation is turned off instantly (as far as I can say) by Javascript. However when you block Javascript entirely or block ampproject.org you have to endure the whole 8 seconds. I inject "body {animation: none !important}" into all pages to remedy this.


That slows down AMP pages relative to nom-AMP pages when JavaScript is disabled. This is not in the complaint.


Is it possible to see this in action on desktop?


I think there is confusion about the term "rendering" here.

The term "rendering" is used

(a) to describe the actual translation of textual-instructive HTML/CSS/Javascript into a graphical representation within a browser window and

(b) to describe stuff being loaded into a page via Javascript, most prominently ads, and more oriented towards load time ("How long until the page has finished loading" = "rendering time").

With CSS, you can define pixel-perfect areas for stuff to be rendered into, which makes the browser not having to decide on the size of the area after it has loaded further material from third-party sources. Doing so reduces "screen flickering", which is generally annoying (and the major reason why I block ads with a vengeance). This can be described as "pre-rendering" when you understand rendering as (a).


I have only a basic understanding of online advertising. Is that really how AMP ads work? If they are pre-rendered before the user clicks the link, when does the auction happen? Does it do a speculative auction when you load the search results page? It so, that is an incredibly unfair advantage for google.

Or do you just mean that all possible ad creatives are server-side-rendered, so to speak, and kept ready in a google cache?

Edit: oh probably pre rendered by the user browser in the background. In that case any ad could still trigger it‘s impression with a viewport listener, if that‘s what google needed them to do.


> In that case any ad could still trigger it‘s impression with a viewport listener, if that‘s what google needed them to do.

With AMP, Google (and Microsoft and the other companies running AMP caches) can verify that the ad doesn't trigger an impression until viewed, which they need to do because they serve it themselves.

https://developers.google.com/authorized-buyers/rtb/amp-ads

> Does it do a speculative auction when you load the search results page?

Yes.

> It so, that is an incredibly unfair advantage for google.

Why would it be? Anybody can participate in the auction.


That’s not how it works at all. As you can see with the link you included, things like client IP address is sent along with the bid request. This happens after a user opens an amp article, not before.

The one second delay is so that ads that aren’t sandboxed and loaded client side, won’t impact the reading experience. For ads that are loaded server side, they can ensure the quality is high enough that they can be displayed while content is rendering.


> The one second delay is so that ads that aren’t sandboxed and loaded client side, won’t impact the reading experience.

Where does it say that? The delay is from the ad spot not even being available to bid on until the user opens the article, some timeout to receive all the bids, and then some time to fetch the ad from the winner's ad server instead of returning the ad content immediately after the winner has been determined.

> For ads that are loaded server side, they can ensure the quality is high enough

For ads that are loaded server side, they can just validate against the spec to ensure that it is safe for the AMP cache to serve inside the article.


No, there is still a bid placed at render time for the amp ads — it can just be stitched in as soon as it’s ready since it is known to not to impact rendering performance.


It seems unfair because the only party that could possibly run an auction before you click the link is google.


Have you followed any of the links in the article and read about all the documents unsealed in the case against Google?

Or have you even read the article?


Yes, yes, and yes. Have you? The claims quoted in this article were provided without any documents from Google, let alone a mechanism for how the non-AMP ad delay worked. I described the mechanism. What part of the description did you not understand, so I can clarify it for you?

The author made the elementary mistake of blindly trusting the prosecutor without putting on his engineer hat to figure out if the prosecutor's allegations made any sense whatsoever.


>> Have you ... and ...?

>> Or have you even read the article?

> Yes, yes, and yes.

Not so much on that last "yes":

> The author ... without putting on his engineer hat

>>> Sarah Gooding

Putting on her engineer hat.


I realized that after I had commented but could not correct it due to the edit button going away. HN guidelines require you to "respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."




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