Google recently announced changes to its algorithms which more heavily favor page load times. Chief among the factors that affect load times, according to Google, is adoption and implementation of its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP for short) protocol.
This comes after a split between rankings Google provides on mobile and the desktop. Figures from StatCounter show that as of October, mobile as superseded traditional PCs. Therefore, algorithm changes affecting search results served to mobile customers are more important than ever.
In much the same way that Android is technically open source but in reality exists to perpetuate Mountain View’s proprietary suite of services, Google AMP is an open standard built to further Google Search results. Google’s index of the web is, in effect, the web. That is to say, if your website doesn’t pop up on a Google it may as well not exist.
"Google’s index of the web is, in effect, the web."
While that is the goal of the many off-the-grid websites know collectively as the deep web, legitimate businesses want to appear in Google Search results but either are unaware of AMP and similar protocols or cannot afford the manpower to implement them.
That needs to change, but the only real contender is that other behemoth online firm, Facebook. Markedly more brazen than Google, Facebook doesn’t even masquerade its mitigation of page load times, Instant Articles, as free and open source.
"Facebook doesn’t even masquerade Instant Articles as free and open source."
Although shorter page load times are enticing, AMP and IA come at the expense of the open nature and competitive landscape inherent in the proper version of the web. It’s far from enough that these platforms are “basically HTML.”
Moreover, a parallel can be drawn between this bastardization of an open standard and Apple’s proprietary W1 chip that builds atop Bluetooth without contributing to it. The richest tech firms in the world are taking from the open source community and giving nothing back to it. That is, unless you believe that AMP isn’t a tool to make Google Search more useful. In that case, it’s great. Just great.