Those who used Google Search on Wednesday from their mobile device may have noticed some search results listed as ‘AMP’ with a green thunderbolt symbol below. These websites will now load faster than the standard results. What does this mean? The ‘AMP’ results have been optimised for reading on mobile devices, especially for news and content websites. On a PC or laptop, the web pages may have dynamic web pages featuring video, audio and interactive elements. But on mobile, these elements may take longer to load. The announcement about the launch of the AMP programme was made on September 24 and has seen a number of distribution outlets come together to embrace the new platform and provide content for it.
According to Google, the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is an initiative to improve the mobile web and enhance the distribution ecosystem. If content is fast, flexible and has compelling and effective ads, “We can preserve the open web publishing model as well as the revenue streams so important to the sustainability of quality publishing.” AMP is built on existing web technology rather than a template. So web content publishers will continue to host their own content, innovate in providing user experiences and flexibly integrate their advertising and business models – all this optimised for speed and performance. At present, Google has over 38 of the world’s top newspaper publishing and online websites on board, including Washington Post, The Guardian, Buzzfeed and BBC. These websites render mobile-optimised content if you surf from your hand-held device. Twitter immediately saw heated debates on the pros and cons, with some calling it ‘restrictive’ because people may tend to click on AMP-enabled websites rather than the usual ones. Other users posted tutorials of how to make websites AMP-compatible. In an effort to push content online, providers have opted to optimise certain aspects for mobiles. Twitter, with its Algorithmic Timeline puts trending and popular items on a user’s feed. Facebook also uses ‘Instant Articles’, a product for publishers to create fast, interactive articles that display faster on mobile browsers.