1. 35

  2. 6

    Publishers and other site owners feel forced to use AMP as they fear that they’ll lose Google visibility and traffic without it.

    By the way, is this fear justified? I mean, did they conduct serious studies to come to the conclusion that they must use AMP?

    I suspect there is a lot of superstition here, but I may be wrong.

    1. 12


      Amp-enabled pages can be featured in the ‘carousel’ above regular pages.

      If you think Google isn’t doing everything they can do push every man and his dog to adopt AMP, or that they’re doing it for anything other than gaining more control over the web, I’m sorry but you’re either wrong, or naive about Google and it’s tactics.

      1. 1

        Frankly, I don’t know. That’s why I ask. I believe some press publishers do not need to rely heavily on SEO or Google-compliance because that’s not part of their core strategy. They have other (and better qualified) channels. In this situation, I wonder why it is required to implement AMP. Warning: I may be biased here, because I usually don’t rely on a search engine to find press content.

        1. 2

          The way I’ve heard it is: AMP is a bundle of requirements to get fast, mobile-friendly pages, and the key word is bundle.

          If you make a proposal to implement the bundle, you have to win through one meeting. After that, there’ll be 17 subtasks on jira to implement each of the 17 requirements, but no more management discussion. (Or if not 17, then however many requirements apply to you, which may be higher or lower than the list in the AMP spec. The precise number doesn’t matter.)

          If you want to get the same speed without the bundle, you have to propose each of those 17 tasks. Now you have 17 meetings and have to justify each of 17 tasks separately. Management will be sick and tired before you reach 10.

          A consequence of this view is that the two ways to get rid of AMP are:

          • make most people accept slowness and bloat
          • define another bundle, with a buzzword-worthy name, that provides the same single-meeting advantage

          I personally don’t think the latter is doable. The ship has sailed. The name for that other bundle now would be AMUNIH, short for Accelerated Mobile Uhm, NIH.

          1. 3

            The idea of putting more thought into building fast and efficient sites is absolutely something web developers should be doing. But that’s not only what AMP is about, and I’m not even sure if AMP is good at that.

            The way that Google imagines AMP is that anybody uses a specified subset and format of HTML alongside a fixed set of JS libraries. AMP HTML is pretty much standard HTML, but with lots of added WebComponents and some JS libraries that are supposed to make resource loading more efficient.

            Now, the thing is that if you want to use AMP right (and get the gentle preferred treatment in some cases), WebDevs are supposed to load all those AMP WebComponents from Google-run CDNs (cdn.ampproject.org). This alone puts Google and the people developing AMP into a position where they have total control, and where they are also the single point of failure on all websites. It’s not like a library that you embed for a specific feature that can fail gracefully - if the AMP JS libraries fail to load, your AMP website is literally a blank page. There is no room for graceful degradation.

            And even if we talk about AMPs actual effectiveness, I’m… honestly unsure if this works. I wanted to pick a good article, so I searched Reddit for posts that have “amp” in the URL and used the one with the largest number of upvotes. This AMPified CNBC article came up (note that clicking the link might forward you to the desktop version if you don’t have a Chrome-mobile-y user agent string). Looking at the devtools, it does a total of 24 requests for CSS and JS files, totaling at 1.91MB (although they were compressed, and only 571KB had to be transferred, but that’s still a lot). 14 of those requests ended up in the AMP CDN, but there are also requests to CNBC’s servers, as well as a couple of external services, including ad- and tracking scripts. Document loading finished in 874ms, and that’s on a super powerful laptop. That’s not a slim, fast website.

            It gets much worse if you look at the way Google handles AMP links inside their products. If you access an AMP search result, for example, you don’t even access the original servers. The article I shared was linked in this Reddit post, and if you look closely, they don’t even link to the CNBC article itself. The link goes to https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/.... Google is proxying that request, and AMP-site owners have no control over what Google is doing. Right now, it looks like Google is only adding a top bar that brings you back to the search results and offers a “share” button, but… who knows. Stuff like that puts even more control into Google’s hand.

            I certainly have lots of issues with supporting a technology that requires everyone using it to depend on a single point of failure. And I also don’t like the fact that AMP decision-makers can make completely arbitrary decisions just because.

            That’s not really how the web is supposed to work.

            (Disclaimer: I’m a Mozilla-employee, and even though this is my private opinion, I’m obviously biased. And sorry for my rant. :))

            1. 1

              I’ve been involved in only one AMP project, and in that, all of the nontrivial work tickets were about killing go-slow shit (my opinion, naturally). One is a small sample size, maybe others are different.

              There were some trivial changes that didn’t seem particularly clueful, but who cares about trivial stuff. And there was the Google integration, which I though was upgefucked and vile, but I couldn’t see any better way. Still can’t, can you? It should be an absolute defence against arguments that just one additional tracker or blah-blah integratrion won’t hurt and getting rid of it requires {renegotiating a contract,finding another way,a lot of work}. AMP leverages Google’s famous stonewall. Noone can discuss with Google, right? So if the site has to be accepted by code running on Google’s servers, that’s it, end of discussion.

              EDIT: thought about my contradiction here. Why do I think AMP’s upgefucked and vile, but still sort of approve? I think it’s because I personally want the web to work decentralised et cetera, while the key idea of AMP is about orgchart compatibility and needing little management attention. That’s a realism about corporate life that I cannot really like, even though I think I should.

        2. 1

          The first search I tried now didn’t give me a carousel at all, the second gave me a a carousel with links to three different sites, none of them with AMP.

          All three sites were pleasantly fast, BTW, so perhaps someone has confused “fast” with AMP?

      2. 4

        dont implement AMP. dont link AMP. dont provide AMP integrations and libs.

        1. 2

          Strategically these are not very effective methods. It requires people to read this blog post and get convinced. As an individual you might make the switch but I don’t see how to convert a sizable portion of the population.

          On the other end we have people buying new android phones everyday. Even for existing Android users, the whole on-boarding process is nudging them towards enabling all of the tracking and using Google Chrome. At some point it’s just easier to give in an click on next, next, next.

          As long as people are using Google as their default search engine, Google can do whatever they want. And news organization that rely on Google traffic to survive will have to do whatever Google recommends.

          I don’t know how but a more effective method would be to punish AMP deployments somehow.

          1. 1

            I use Firefox, but that Firefox screenshot on the right isn’t very compelling—the bottom quarter of the screen is taken up by the appearance options. It kind of takes away from the point that you can use that mode to get a more focused reading view. (And let’s be honest, the fact that the only two font options are “sans serif” and “serif” is not a point in Firefox’s favor.)