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Google Touts “AMP” Momentum: We See 16,000 New Pages Each Day
Company introducing new features, capabilities to open-source project.
This morning, Google held a meeting to provide updates about its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) publishing initiative. The project launched as an open-source effort with a range of publishers on October 7 this year. Some see AMP as Google’s answer to Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News.
The primary objective of AMP is to deliver faster-loading mobile web pages and thereby improve the mobile web user experience (and the Google search experience). The company previously said that it will support AMP within Google search “early next year.” Today, it confirmed that it “will begin sending traffic to AMP pages in Google Search as early as late February, 2016.”
This morning’s update focused on four areas: advertising, analytics, subscriptions and page format. Google made previous announcements about advertising and analytics support. The key updates covered in the meeting are explained in the company’s blog post. Here are a few excerpts:
- Advertising: The initial roadmap for ads includes faster ads, ads that can resize and support for viewability, as well as integration with certain data management providers and sponsored content providers . . .
- Analytics: Preliminary end-to-end testing for publishers and analytics vendors is expected to start in late December, with full testing happening in mid- to late January . . .
- Subscriptions: The design draft for metered paywall and subscription access is being reviewed with several publishers . . .
- Content Format Innovation: Highlights include amp-iframe, which now has resizing capability, and amp-click-to-play to enable a rich experience within an iframe once a user interaction has occurred. We now have templates to dynamically fetch fresh content, inspired by the need to support onward journey experiences.
Google stressed third-party involvement and the open-source nature of AMP. Since October, 4,800 developers have engaged with the project, says Google. There have also been nine releases, or roughly one per week. The company added that it’s now seeing 16,000 new AMP pages every day. In addition, where Google started with 40 publisher partners, now any publisher can participate, build AMP pages and be featured in the AMP demo experience.
Twitter and Pinterest were present at the event and discussed how they were starting to use AMP for links to third-party sites and content — where they exist. They said they detect AMP content and then substitute that for traditional mobile web pages. Pinterest said that AMP pages load 4X faster and use 1/8 of the data of conventional mobile pages.
Google explained in technical detail how it manages AMP pages. I won’t reproduce that elaborate discussion (because I can’t), except to say that Google “proxy caches” and pre-renders content above the fold. The rest of the page then loads after it’s visible to the user. Ads load after content. Google said it’s trying to mitigate the impact of ads on page-load time. It also places some limitations on ad sizing.
During the meeting, Google repeated user stats that indicate 40 percent of consumers will abandon a website that takes more three seconds to load. As a way to increase page-load speed, AMP may also play into search ranking over time.