Smartphones and tablets have revolutionised the way we access information, and today people consume a tremendous amount of news on their phones.
This holds especially true for publishers globally, who use the mobile web to reach these readers, but the experience often leaves a lot to be desired. Every time a webpage takes too long to load, they lose a reader—and the opportunity to earn revenue through advertising or subscriptions. That’s because advertisers on these websites have a hard time getting consumers to pay attention to their ads when the pages load so slowly that people abandon them entirely.
In response, Google has introduced its new initiative, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web.
In a statement released by the technology giant, it said that it wants webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously. Google also wants the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant—no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device is being using.
The project relies on AMP HTML, a new open framework built entirely out of existing web technologies, which allows websites to build light-weight webpages.
Over time Google anticipates that other Google products such as Google News will also integrate AMP HTML pages.
According to Google, this is the start of an exciting collaboration with publishers and technology companies, who have all come together to make the mobile web work better for everyone. Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress.com, Chartbeat, Parse.ly, Adobe Analytics and LinkedIn are among the first group of technology partners planning to integrate AMP HTML pages.
In the coming months Google will work with other participants in the project to build more features and functionality focused on some key areas:
Content: Publishers increasingly rely on rich content like image carousels, maps, social plug-ins, data visualisations, and videos to make their stories more interactive and stand out. They also need to implement ads and analytics in order to monetise the content and to understand what their readers like and dislike. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project provides an open source approach, allowing publishers to focus on producing great content, while relying on the shared components for high performance and great user experience. The initial technical specification—developed with input and code from our partners in the publishing and technology sectors has been released on GitHub.
Distribution: Publishers want people to enjoy the great journalism they create anywhere and everywhere. That means distribution across all kinds of devices and platforms is crucial. So, as part of this effort, Google designed a new approach to caching that allows the publisher to continue to host their content while allowing for efficient distribution through Google’s high performance global cache. Google intends to open its cache servers to be used by anyone free of charge.
Advertising: Ads help fund free services and content on the web. With Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google wants to support a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies. Any sites using AMP HTML will retain their choice of ad networks, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience. It’s also a core goal of the project to support subscriptions and paywalls. Google will work with publishers and those in the industry to help define the parameters of an ad experience that still provides the speed it is striving for with AMP.
For a detailed overview of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages see www.ampproject.org