AMP launch 2015

Accelerated

Mobile

Pages

www.ampproject.org is the official web site of the project and while not referencing it as such, this is very much a project that Google is behind, although it is absolutely Open Source (hosted on GitHub). Google is hosting a demo (best viewed through Chrome on your mobile device) at www.g.co/ampdemo, when you arrive there, do a search for popular topic that might be covered by one of the AMP partners (see list below) such as Obama or Putin and try out the carousel, if it is served.

Why does this exist? Publishers such as Facebook have launched content hosting initiatives aiming to a) keep users engaged on their platforms longer so that advertisers can reach them and b) provide better experiences to a large swath of their user base that accesses the web via mobile, exclusively or significantly. Google has formed a consortium to counter this initiative with a less "walled garden" approach, through an AMP version of HTML.

My take on this is, that this is a defensive move by Google to counter two threats that are not entirely separate: 1) Platforms, like Facebook, pulling users into walled gardens exclusively by offering them richer experiences than they would otherwise get through a browser, see Instant Articles [note Google cannot monetize these, in any way] 2) App experiences are better than the browser experience because they can be optimized to do that thing that the user downloaded the app for...but, you have to have the App. Ben Thompson of Stratechery agrees and takes it a step further:

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is meant to fix both problems:

·  First, the project ensures that sites have a common infrastructure. Apps or browsers can pre-install said infrastructure; to load a page they simply have to download the content (kind of like apps)

·  Second, by controlling the spec and infrastructure (and by basically outlawing Javascript), Google can effectively save publishers from themselves: you will have as many staircases and windows as Google allows, and you will pre-build them on the server-side (in the browser you won't even have the means to build any more)

AMP enabled pages will load faster. Google's algo has, for some time, taken page speed into account as a signal, therefore pages that are AMP enabled will garner an advantage in the index over a similar, non-enabled page. This, might be reason enough for content creators to get on board.

This could ultimately be a huge win for users of the Internet, world over, who are spending more time interacting with the web via mobile devices, every day...depending on adoption.

There are a few key issues around advertising, monetization and measurement that are addressed on the FAQ page found at www.ampproject.org/faq/, which speak for themselves. I encourage you to visit that page and read the sections addressing these topics as well as the one touching on Paywalls.

One question that I'm currently pondering is, how does this effect brands efforts to create responsive sites to address mobile screen size and bandwidth issues?

Who's involved? There are two camps, Publishers and technology partners...the publisher's list reads to be a who's who of original content on & offline.

Publishers:

Abril

Atlantic Media

BBC

Buzzfeed

Conde Nast

Daily Mail

The Economist

Editora Globo

El Pais

Fairfax Media

FT

Folha De SaoPaulo

Frankfurter Allgemeine

Gannett

The Gaurdian

Hearst

Huffington Post

La Stampa

Les Echos

Mashable

McClatchy

NewsCorp Australia

Daily News

NY Post

NY Times

NineMSN

NRC.nl

The Telegraph

TIME

UOL

US News

VOX Media

The Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post

ZEIT Online

Technology Partners:

Adobe

Chartbeat

Google

Linked-In

Nuzzel

Parse.ly

Pinterest

Twitter

Wordpress

(this was originally written as an internal agency primer in the fall of 2015, when AMP launched)