Google AMP is a rival to Apple News, Facebook Instant and ad-blockers

Google has announced that it will be taking on Apple News, Facebook’s Instant Articles and fight back against the rising tide of ad-blockers with Accelerated Mobile Pages – or AMP for short.

Google AMP is a rival to Apple News, Facebook Instant and ad-blockers

The idea behind AMP is to simplify how web pages are rendered on a mobile device. It pulls the information from a web page and stores it in Google, allowing users to find the information they want far faster than loading up another page. Its goal is to load pages almost instantly from anywhere in the world.

Interestingly, AMP isn’t solely a Google project. A group of technology partners are acting together under the banner of the “Accelerated Mobile Pages Project”. There are nine partners in total, with companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter involved.

So far 38 international publications are onboard, including the BBC, Buzzfeed, The Economist, The Guardian, The New York Times and various Vox Media websites.

There’s no concrete date for the rollout of AMP, although Google says it hopes to launch the service sometime next year. Currently you can visit partnering sites and take a look at how they’ll look under AMP by adding “/amp” to the end of the page URL.

Google working on mobile rival to Apple News and Facebook Instant

Pages rendered in AMP show less clutter, removing related stories, menus and occasionally social sharing buttons. As this is still early days, many of these omissions could reappear, but AMP’s aim is to increase the speed of web browsing on mobile devices, so don’t expect an awful lot of clutter to return.

While Apple News is focused on removing unwanted ads – and replacing them with ones they deem acceptable – AMP is about ensuring ads don’t slow down page-load times. Obviously, Google would never want to remove advertisements as so much of its revenue comes from them. However, if done right, AMP could seriously reduce the number of people who use ad-blocker software as mobile content would load quickly and easily.

Google isn’t strong-arming every publication into using AMP, and states that it won’t give AMP pages priority in Google News. However, as Google’s ranking algorithms work on page-load times, surely AMP-optimised content will naturally rise to the top.

Compared to Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles, Google doesn’t require publications to jump through various hoops to have content syndicated. It also doesn’t steal traffic away from websites or force certain advertisements upon readers and publishers, meaning it’s a far more flexible approach that the news-protection rackets that Apple and Facebook are touting.

Curious to know more about Google’s mobile ambitions? Take a look at our Android 6 Marshmallow hands-on to find out more.

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