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Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project Gaining Momentum

December 10, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Customers want high performance web browsing and there are a number of ways that pages can be downloaded and rendered quickly. Some of these techniques include using a faster network connection and to this end, we’ve seen higher performance radio technologies used in devices. Another aspect is higher performance devices running the web browser, so that the computer in question is able to render and build the on-screen web page as quick as the device can pull in the data. We have also seen mobile versions of webpages built, designed to use less data and so load quicker on portable devices, which typically have less processor power and bandwidth compared with desktop-based systems. Unfortunately, mobile websites – especially those with embedded adverts – have grown in complexity as site designers make assumptions based on the rising average speed of Internet connections and the devices that are used to view their web pages. However, the average Internet data transfer speed experienced in say Europe or North America will not be representative of a web page viewed in say India or rural China. To this end, Google have been working on a project designed to speed up mobile web browsing, called “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” or AMP.

AMP is also seen as a foundation stone for building a high performance news service, as pages with adverts should load significantly quicker using AMP technology compared to not, regardless of the network used. Google today provided an update via its blog to detail the project, first explaining that AMP has been gaining momentum and making quick progress. Google is planning on sending traffic to AMP pages via the Google Search engine in late February. They also report that Twitter are planning on using AMP technology and Pinterest’s experiments have shown pages load four times quicker and use one eighth of the data compared with traditional mobile web pages. Google have announced that several messaging applications – LINE, Viber and Tango – will integrate AMP content in early 2016. Other online businesses and technologies that are planning to support AMP include WordPress, comScore, Google Analytics and Parse.ly; these websites are building the technology into their products and it will be ready by late February.

Google’s blog included updates on four topics, these being Advertising, Analytics, Subscriptions and Content Format. For Advertising, Google explained that AMP will include higher performance adverts that will be resizable. The project has engaged with both publishers and advertising businesses including Outbrain, AOL, Taboola, OpenX, DoubleClick, AdSense, Pubmatic, Integral Ad Science, Moat, Smart AdServer, Krux, Polar, Nativo and Teads.tv. With regard to the integration of Analytics technology, initial testing will shortly be starting, leading to full testing in mid to late January. Google reports that Adobe Analytics, ClickTale and Nielsen are planning on supporting Accelerated Mobile Pages. For Subscriptions and Content Format, Google’s design draft for paywall or subscription access is being reviewed by several publishers. Both Subscription and Content Format are areas where a number of details remain to be worked out and the prototype technology needs to be tested; in the case of Content Format, third party developers have been proactively building AMP-compatible technologies to enhance the user experience.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages project has the potential to enhance and accelerate how quickly web pages download and render for many people. In addition to the above updates, Google also explained that even more publishers have joined the AMP project. Late February is not so many weeks away.