Google Accelerates the Mobile Web with Amp

First, Google updated its algorithm so that mobile-friendly Web pages ranked higher on searches made from a mobile device. Now the tech giant is collaborating with content producers to speed up the time it takes their pages to load on smartphones and tablets. Try a demo version by visiting from your mobile device.

Here’s a demo video the company released during the announcement:

The project, dubbed Accelerated Mobile Pages—or AMP—was announced Oct. 7 as a way to “dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web.” On its blog, Google said the goal is for pages with rich media content to load instantly. Readers often give up when complex pages load too slowly, the company said.

Pages optimized with AMP should load in less than a second, versus a typical time of about six seconds.

The initiative already has signed on almost 30 news publishers worldwide, as well as tech companies including Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, and LinkedIn that will use the newly developed AMP HTML to build fast-loading pages. Google News will likely integrate the technology too.

Industry observers said AMP is Google’s response to Facebook Instant Articles, which allows news to be published directly to the social network’s mobile app, and Apple News, a native app included with its iOS 9 update that serves up quick access to your favorite RSS feeds.

AMP also takes aim at ad blockers, which some experts say threaten the future of online advertising—a $70 billion industry that Google dominates. When ads are blocked, Web pages load more quickly. Ad-blocking extensions have been available for desktop computers for years, but mobile behemoth Apple just began allowing the software to be used on its devices this month.

Ad blockers also are an issue for publishers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, newspaper owner Gannett, and magazine owner Hearst that rely on advertising revenue. Not surprisingly, they are among the early AMP partners.

What’s your take on the latest Google initiative? Is the time it takes a page to load an issue for you, or do you find something else to do for those extra five seconds? Weigh in with your comments below.

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