Catching up on AMP News

The big news since we last talked about AMP is that the AMP team announced that there will be a way for non-AMP sites to make their way into the coveted Google search results carousel. Malte Ubl:

Based on what we learned from AMP, we now feel ready to take the next step and work to support more instant-loading content not based on AMP technology in areas of Google Search designed for this, like the Top Stories carousel.

You can't do it now, nor is it clear exactly how you'll be whitelisted, but apparently Google is open to it. The ticket in will be utilizing hopefully-someday standardized things like Feature Policies, which, like AMP, disallow certain features in the name of... well that's the thing. It used be be in the name of speed, but the messaging seems to be more like in the name of privacy and security now. Also a good goal, just funny that "Pages" is about the last thing left in the AMPcroymn. Sorry.


Need to Catch Up on the AMP Debate?

The subject of AMP came up at a meetup I was at the other day. It came up in a "Hey have y'all seen this thing yet?" context. Some people have heard of it, some hadn't. Even among those who had heard of it, the vibe was mostly: "this is newfangled tech. It's the future, probably. I guess it's a thing I gotta learn, I just haven't gotten around to it yet." Which makes sense. It's just like hearing about some new JavaScript framework that is taking off. "Obviously, it's a big deal, I just haven't gotten there yet. Perhaps I will one day when it's clear I need to for a project."

Other folks at the meetup were like "Isn't it that thing that makes it so you can't use CSS or JavaScript?" Someone else thought it was more like a CMS. Neither is quite true, but there is certainly plenty of confusion out there (and a lot of outright shrugs). Let's not re-explain what AMP is here, but cover some of the potentially confusing and controversial points.


ShopTalk 248: AMP

AMP is wildly polarizing.

Huge tech companies evangelize for it. It has loads of tech partners and loads of publishers using it. Well-respected companies are building things for it.

There is also a ton of backlash. It's too easy to break. It gives Google far too much control. It's not entirely progressive enhancement friendly. Offline development is harder. The caching layer means clicking a link from Google search results shows the site without ever leaving, which is concerning for any number of reasons, a small one being that it makes sharing the URL weird. That's just a few. I've heard quite the laundry list of complaints.

On this episode of ShopTalk we discuss all things AMP with someone on the AMP team (and who's own blog is entirely AMP) and an entrepreneur building a service around AMP. Do they wonder if AMP is helping or hurting the web? They do.

Why Do Websites Publish AMP Pages?

I cannot tell if you AMP will shake out to have been a good or bad idea for the web.

I can attempt to answer this question though: those sites don't care where you read them. They just want people to read them. Read them. Like them. Trust them. So when they have something to sell (in any sense of the word), they sell it. Losing that attention is more scary than losing direct traffic to one place it publishes. Without saying it in so many words, AMP is saying: you stand to lose that attention without this.

And of course it's not just AMP, there are loads of off-site places you can publish to. So many that I think publishers are saying: "whatever, just make it easy, and we'll blast our content wherever you want."