It bears repeating that AMP is a subset of the web controlled completely by Google – if you want to show ads, you have to be approved by Google, and without doubt all AMP webpages for the forseeable future will be accessed through the Google AMP cache, whose Terms of Service include language allowing Google to use data to ‘improve Google products and services.’ The web is one of the few open platforms we have left – I think it is very important that we try and keep it that way.
While I agree with the spirit of your message (and upvoted you accordingly), AMP is essentially an ignorable superset of HTML (a few extra attributes and specific CSS classes + custom JS payload). It’s not much different than Google bundling the proprietary Flash Player with Chrome to improve the web experience for the average user. Does that mean Google is subverting the web as an open platform by promoting a certain closed standard? Sure, you can argue that and be technically correct… But what’s the point? Ever since Google became the de facto search engine, they’ve been able to affect how the web evolved to differing degrees, and AMP is no different.
However, I really don’t see AMP as a threat to the web’s openness. You can totally inline above-the-fold CSS, async all your JS payloads and serve a specific version of the page to mobile clients and get 90% of the benefits of AMP without actively participating in Google’s AMP cache, if you prefer.
Regarding the ToS: Even without AMP, enough of the web is on Google Analytics that they have access to the same data regardless of whether or not a publisher used AMP cache.
What if you have a page that is already responsive and loads quickly without AMP? Do you get a lightning bolt?
A lot of what AMP does sounds like how devs should be creating their sites in the first place. The mentality of just splatting frameworks, content, and a couple of ad providers injecting who-knows-what into the page is incredibly wasteful and degrades the browsing experience even on powerful desktops.
However, without a clear external driver (Google, in this case), there was no chance large publishers would have voluntarily asked their web teams to slim down their mobile site offerings for an ephemeral metric like “make the site load faster” (though Google, Amazon, and many other publishers have been screaming from the top of the mountain for years about how even a 1/10th of a second degradation in page load speed will negatively impact revenue).
Thanks to the AMP cache that Google operates (which has insanely low pings to the vast majority of continental US), the difference between browsing an AMP cached page vs a non-AMP page is extremely apparent. The nail in the coffin for not jumping on the AMP bandwagon was that a given publisher’s site would appear as slow as snails compared to their competitor’s; no matter how hard a publisher’s in-house developers optimized the mobile web experience, there’s just no comparing against a well optimized CDN that Google hand-rolled for this purpose.
Totally agreed. Posted this more for the lobsters discussion than because I agreed with it ;)