AMP and instant Articles: The only winners are Google and Facebook

by Sachin

Currently, there is much to criticize in Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is nothing less than the free Internet at stake. And even more.

Together develop the Internet of the future ” – so pathetic the AMP Project describes the ambitious project. AMP Accelerated MobilePages should speed up the Internet on mobile devices.

That makes sense. After all load sites on your phone, for example, in rural areas or in the subway often very slowly or not at all the same. So AMP would mainly be for us really welcome users.

What exactly are AMP and how do they work?

The Accelerated Mobile Pages were launched in autumn 2015 by Google. The goal is to load especially news sites quickly on mobile devices and use less data. “Better performance and engagement,” it says on the website of the project.

This saves us a lot of readers frustration and we have more time to consume content. A boon not only for Reading, but also for publishers whose websites we as likely to drive more often. Almost all known German news pages make. About Sueddeutsche , Spiegel Online or image .

The digital newspaper industry is rescued out of the crisis … again?

Already summoned pages while searching

AMP work surprisingly well. News pages load usually in under one second. To make a website AMP-compatible, but does clearly needs to be adapted to the guidelines of Google.

It is – to put it simply – creates a copy of the page and uploaded to Google’s servers. HTML is highly compressed, all JavaScript applications will be discarded and replaced by a single AMP own script.

So it is possible to charge the (copied) Web site as early as the Google search. Advertising is also displayed only for specified places, exclusively from shared advertising partners. No annoying pop-ups and other aggressive marketing methods.

Google accelerated mobile pages

accelerated mobile pages

Open Source and yet not so open

This sounds remarkably familiar if you have been on Facebook’s Instant Articles has heard, introduced a few months earlier. Fast load times by copying and uploading news content, but however strictly regulated advertising and (much) less leeway. The big difference: AMP are open source. They are, they say, much more open.

AMP websites are visually almost indistinguishable from their originals. If you click on one of Google search, you will not be routed to the actual page, but on a copy that is on Google’s servers. Only the link in the browser address bar reveals that. And stay that way. Even if you want to share the article, for example on Twitter or WhatsApp.

Against the spirit of the Internet

And that brings us to a problem: What namely caused at Instant Articles already for sharp criticism, is at the supposedly more open AMP hardly different. Perhaps Google’s plans to change the Internet, even more problematic than Facebook’s ( not so successful ) to keep trying to readers on the platform. Because Facebook does not pretend to be open. Since the risks are obvious.

The Internet itself was and is therefore a so great success because it takes place decentralized. Therefore it is called “net” or “Web”. It is a network of many computer networks. By Google changed the structure, it also endangers its free and equal character. Because spins to the idea behind the AMP a little further, will soon run all about Google’s servers.

The privatization of the freedom of expression, again!

For media companies, especially news sites, Google’s AMP is at first glance a blessing. Faster load times, less data usage and better placement in the search results. Many recent articles appear namely in a “news carousel” that only AMP-optimized pages is reserved. Recognizable to users on the flash icon on the Google page.

Free for all

In addition, publishers with AMP also get significantly more limited analysis of data on their readers. Only few data releases Google, with which to optimize the online presence is little to begin.

Because Google’s AMP is open, can theoretically any website to jump on the train. Also rogue sites that disseminate false or exaggerated news to garner advertising revenue.

And by the AMP logo and good placement in search results is created gullible the impression there were a trustworthy source that is powered by Google.

The only winner: Google

The still difficult marketing messages led publishers in the network is always a bit problematic to decisions in cooperation with major IT companies. The situation is without question anything but easy to deal with.

Especially Facebook and Google lure with supposedly lucrative marketing models for journalistic content. And media companies like to jump in desperation only on the train.

It does not need AMP to be loaded sites quickly. The structure can also make itself leaner. And the pre-loading pages would hardly be necessary if the expansion of mobile data networks would go faster. Because most users seem AMP to benefit if they just do not have high-speed data connection.

Difficult situation

Only Google benefits long term from its AMP project. Publisher lose their sovereignty and we user our free internet. This may sound exaggerated, but Google’s ambitions go far beyond copying mobile part pages. Theoretically, all sites in the world AMP fit can be made. All would run on Google’s servers.

The only advantage for AMP partners: A better and more controlled ranking in the search results. This makes it particularly difficult to dissuade messages houses of Google’s AMP.


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