In early October, Google officially unveiled the AMP Project (Accelerated Mobile Pages). In Google’s words, AMP is designed around “speed and user experience,” that is, ensuring that mobile versions of websites download and render quickly even over a relatively slow Internet connection on a slow, entry level handset or tablet. As such, one might think that the AMP Project is ideal for rolling out into those countries with underdeveloped mobile networks compared with those of us lucky enough to be blessed with high performance 4G LTE networks from a choice of carriers. India is a good example, where here much of the country has limited 2G GPRS / EDGE connectivity, with 3G and 4G LTE only currently provided for much closer to the cities. However, there is another advantage to reducing the file size and complexity of web pages even on a quicker Internet connection: it means that pages load very quickly, and this has an important side effect in the realm of news stories. Google’s research shows that customers want their news article pages delivered as quickly as possible and that waiting too long means people give up and read something else.
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By way of a background, mobile websites were originally designed to be fast and data-efficient on mobile devices. However, mobile devices have changed significantly since the first mobile optimized websites were created; most of our devices and networks are far more capable, having a larger, higher resolution display with a much quicker Internet connection and application processor, so as to better download and render the page. Mobile webpages have also evolved, but increasing the size and complexity of the page means that many are very sluggish over a 2G GPRS connection. We have seen other developments designed to reduce the size of downloads, such as Google’s Chrome browser being able to compress data so as to reduce bandwidth, but the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project has caught the imagination of thousands of publishers around the world. Speed, it would seem, it money, especially when it translates to pages viewed and adverts presented to customers: Writing of advertisers, the AMP Project have announced that several big name website advertisers have signed up to the service including AdSense, AOL, Outbrain, OpenX and DoubleClick. The project has also attracted interest from analytics companies, such as comScore, Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics and Chartbeat, plus others. This means that accurate statistics will still be collated from businesses using these important traffic statistic services.
The project has captured the imagination of much of the industry and appears to be well supported, so when are the first Accelerated Mobile Pages due to be arriving in our hands? The official answer is, “early next year” but we do not have any greater resolution than this – but Google is encouraging developers and web site designers to take a look at the project and start building higher performance webpages as soon as possible.