Google AMP officially launched today, and the search giant's new feature promises to help some mobile pages load more quickly and combat ad fraud. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, an open-source project that's supported by major publishers like Daily Mail, social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and advertising networks including OpenX.
Downloading mobile websites can be a tedious experience plagued by pages that are built with too much code, which annoys viewers and ultimately hurts Google's ad business. AMP tackles the code-overload issue and brings AMP-approved news articles to the top of search results on smartphones. When readers click on such a link, the page appears almost instantly.
In addition to Daily Mail, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, New York Post, New York Daily News, Vox and The Wall Street Journal are using AMP to build their articles. Google distributes them, but the content is hosted by the publisher.
Google AMP appears to be a counter move to Facebook's Instant Articles, which lets readers on the social network view an entire story without leaving the site.
"Publishers are already dealing with a fragmented content ecosystem with just their own properties—desktop site, mobile site, mobile app," said Yaniv Makover, CEO of software maker Keywee. "Now with Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles, the fragmentation becomes even greater, and it could ultimately affect readers as they may not get the same experience depending on what services they use."
"Much of this is dependent on questions like: Will Google return Facebook Instant Articles in their search results?" said Makover. "Will Facebook give more priority in its News Feed to posts with Instant Articles, versus posts with a Google AMP link?"
That remains to be seen. What's clear is that digital platforms will continue to try to improve the mobile-reading experience across the Web and app universe. And that stands to benefit advertisers—when articles load more quickly, so do ads.
Another benefit of Google AMP is it'll lighten the load on mobile users' wireless plans, which in turn could decrease their likelihood to use ad blockers. In theory, Web pages with less code should use less data.
Google AMP was originally revealed last fall. Here's a video about the program that Google posted on YouTube: