Google launches AMP for faster web page loading

Around and around the loading icon spins, while you wait and wait for the Web page to appear on your phone or tablet. Now, mobile users using Google Search will spend far less time waiting for news articles and other content from publishers and media companies using Google’s new open-source “AMP” coding, Recode reported Wednesday.

The green AMP logo and circle icon are already appearing on enabled stories on a wide variety of high-profile news websites. An informal Mercury News test found the “Accelerated Mobile Pages” articles loaded virtually instantaneously.

More than 100 publishers, plus Twitter and LinkedIn, will be using AMP, according to Recode. Anyone can use the coding for free, without permission from Google.

“An AMP page is four times faster and [uses] 10 times less data. It’s instantaneous,” Google’s senior news director Richard Gingras told the website.

Websites on WordPress are now automatically AMP-boosted, TechCrunch reported Wednesday. Self-hosted WordPress blogs can get AMPed via a plug-in, according to TechCrunch.

News stories carrying AMP coding appear in a “special carousel” in Google Search results, which “is likely to disadvantage sites that opt not to take part,” reported the BBC, which has adopted the coding. A number of other major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post are also using AMP.

The new coding discourages ad-blocking and limits the kinds of ads publishers can pair with content. “The effort acts as a disincentive to people who might otherwise have used ad-blockers to speed up loading times,” the BBC article said. “Publishers can continue to use paywalls and tap into the same ad networks as before, but they will not be able to display some types of adverts including pop-ups and ‘sticky’ images that move as users scroll down a page.”

Google’s new offering competes with Facebook’s Instant Articles, but unlike Facebook, Google does not host the AMP-loaded content.


Photo: Google headquarters in Mountain View (file photo/Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images)


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