I Have Beef With Accelerated Mobile Pages
Ben Halpern Apr 11
I am not the first person to make a mini-rant about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). But it's a conversation we probably shouldn't move off of any time soon.
AMP pages are those mobile Google results with the little lightning bolt. Lightning means fast.
Speed is great, but I cannot come around to the AMP approach. When a user visits an AMP result, they don't go to that webpage, they go to
There are ways to escape the AMP world but it's unintuitive.
Users wind up sharing the
google.com/amp/... and we wind up back in the world of
mobile.website.com where URLs do not work across devices. This is a world we had been trying to rid ourselves of for a while.
These user experience or confusion issues are possibly being "ironed out" but I don't have my hopes up. A world where AMP is the portal to the web is one where websites have their potential business models more limited to ones that can monetize right there in the moment, because retention from here is a pipe dream. Models that can monetize right there in that reading moment are... ads!
Ads aren't the world's worst evil but they are not exactly what we want to restrict ourselves to. Unless you're Google, the ad company to rule all ad companies. From their perspective this is great. Of course there is more you can do with AMP, but many have a way of favoring Google as a platform as opposed to the web as a platform.
Google's monopolistic position is one that allows them to subtly erode the open web in their own favor. As frogs sitting in warm water it's not so bad, but that water is warming up and we don't want to let it boil.
Google has always been just about the biggest proponent of the open web and has pushed the technology to where we are today. I consider myself and my org a friend of the big G, but I still want to question their motives as much as possible. Developers all have relationships with the big players in their platform space and it is the little things that make the difference between a healthy relationship and a bad one.
Google could accomplish these "faster mobile web pages" goals without resorting to these centralization tactics. It's unclear why rewarding fast, efficient experiences in the rankings alone is not enough. There are other things the company could do in order to help developers get their info and assets to the users swiftly and efficiently. They are already doing some of those things in their fine work pushing web technologies forward in general.
It is unclear why we cannot solve the problems AMP is trying to solve without turning the mobile web into the Google web.