Doc Pop’s News Drop: Is Google’s AMP bad for WordPress?

Doc’s WordPress News Drop is a weekly report on the most pressing WordPress news. When the news drops, I will pick it up and deliver it right to you.

In this week’s News Drop, Doc talks about the AMP Letter, an easy accusing Google of anti-competitive practices.

While Google AMP speeds up loading times on articles found via Google mobile searches, some developers are worried that Google is creating a walled garden. Either “opt in” to AMP or take a hit in mobile search results. What do you think?

Love WordPress news but hate reading? My name is Doc and this is Doc Pop’s News Drop.

Even if you’ve never heard of it, there’s a good chance that you’ve viewed a Google AMP article. Especially if you are heavy user of the mobile web.

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and is an open source framework that developers can use to create fast loading pages with static content.

To speed up loading times, AMP strips away javascript (and third party services) and stores a version of your website in Google’s cloud.

So basically, AMP is a diet version of your site that Google displays to viewers during a mobile search.

Studies show that users have a 40% drop off rate after waiting more than 3 seconds for a page to load. Now most web developers aren’t intentionally trying to slow down their sites, but they are trying to monetize their users as best that can. So while they may be optimizing images and loading times, they may also install ad services, pop ups, and other third party plugins to take full advantage of what users they may have.

While some developers love AMPs benefits, others see AMP as a potential threat to the open web.

Recently, a group of web developers published The AMPletter, an essay accusing Google of engaging in anti-competitive tactics and propossing solutions on how to improve the Accelerated Mobile Pages project.

You can view it on ampletter.org

The big issues that these developers see are:

Google should not give sites that use AMP preferential treatment over all other results.

And

Whenever a user navigates from Google to a piece of content, they are, unwittingly, remaining within Google’s ecosystem.

To address these issues, the AMPletter proposes two big changes:

1) Instead of granting AMP articles premium placement in search results, provide the same perks to all pages that meet an objective performance criterion, such as a Speed Index.

2) Don’t display third-party content within a Google page unless it is clear to the user that they are looking at a Google product.

In other words, it’s not acceptable to display a page from a third party website on a Google URL. Nor is acceptable to require that third party to use Google’s hosting in order to appear in search results.

Now to that last point, Google has announced that AMP pages will now appear under publishers’ URLs instead of the google.com/amp URL. This announcement came on the same day that the AMPletter was published, but it’s unclear if that’s just a coincidence or a direct result.

If you are WordPress developer looking to take advantage of AMP there are several plugins out there. And if you are a developer who is interested in signing the AMPletter, can make a pull request on Github and add your signature.

Some of my publishing friends love how AMP has improved loading times from mobile traffic, but I’m concerned that AMP might just be another walled garden, similar to Facebook’s Instant Articles. Both Google and Facebook benefit from keeping traffic on their own pages rather than sending them to external websites, and I think that’s a reason to be concerned.

But I’d like to know what you think. Do the benefits that AMP gives to consumers outway the cons, or is it dangerous for developers to give even more control to one of the web’s most influential companies. Let us know in the comments below and as always, thanks for liking and subscribing to our weekly WordPress news drop.

Doctor Popular is an artist and musician living in San Francisco. As a full disclaimer, he is neither a doctor nor popular.

The post Doc Pop’s News Drop: Is Google’s AMP bad for WordPress? appeared first on Torque.



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