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The Meaning of AMP (adactio.com) 95

Last week, Ethan Marcotte, an independent web designer, shared how Google describes AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). People at Google says AMP "isn't a 'proprietary format'; it's an open standard that anyone can contribute to." But that definition, Marcotte argues, isn't necessarily an honest one. He writes: On the face of it, this statement's true. AMP's markup isn't proprietary as such: rather, all those odd-looking amp- tags are custom elements, part of the HTML standard. And the specification's published, edited, and distributed on GitHub, under one of the more permissive licenses available. So, yes. The HTML standard does allow for the creation of custom elements, it's true, and AMP's license is quite liberal. But spend a bit of time with the rules that outline AMP's governance. Significant features and changes require the approval of AMP's Technical Lead and one Core Committer -- and if you peruse the list of AMP's Core Committers, that list seems exclusively staffed and led by Google employees. Now, there's nothing wrong with this. After all, AMP is a Google-backed project, and they're free to establish any governance model they deem appropriate. But when I hear AMP described as an open, community-led project, it strikes me as incredibly problematic, and more than a little troubling. AMP is, I think, best described as nominally open-source. It's a corporate-led product initiative built with, and distributed on, open web technologies. Jeremy Keith, a web developer, further adds: If AMP were actually the product of working web developers, this justification would make sense. As it is, we've got one team at Google citing the preference of another team at Google but representing it as the will of the people. This is just one example of AMP's sneaky marketing where some finely-shaved semantics allows them to appear far more reasonable than they actually are. At AMP Conf, the Google Search team were at pains to repeat over and over that AMP pages wouldn't get any preferential treatment in search results ... but they appear in a carousel above the search results. Now, if you were to ask any right-thinking person whether they think having their page appear right at the top of a list of search results would be considered preferential treatment, I think they would say hell, yes! This is the only reason why The Guardian, for instance, even have AMP versions of their content -- it's not for the performance benefits (their non-AMP pages are faster); it's for that prime real estate in the carousel. The same semantic nit-picking can be found in their defence of caching. See, they've even got me calling it caching! It's hosting. If I click on a search result, and I am taken to page that has a URL beginning with https://www.google.com/amp/s/... then that page is being hosted on the domain google.com. That is literally what hosting means. Now, you might argue that the original version was hosted on a different domain, but the version that the user gets sent to is the Google copy. You can call it caching if you like, but you can't tell me that Google aren't hosting AMP pages. That's a particularly low blow, because it's such a bait'n'switch.
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The Meaning of AMP

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  • by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @10:33AM (#55457523) Journal
    Can somebody please explain the TLA (Three Letter Abbreviation) when they post an article about it?
    • Can somebody please explain the TLA (Three Letter Abbreviation) when they post an article about it?

      In my world, amp is generally used as a contraction of amplifier. I don't know what TFS is babbling on about.
      Wikipedia lists 40 alternatives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by MagicM ( 85041 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @10:39AM (#55457547)

      The editors ninja-edited TFS to make you look like a fool.

      Like a fool!

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples.gmail@com> on Monday October 30, 2017 @10:43AM (#55457567) Homepage Journal

      AMP is Accelerated Mobile Pages [wikipedia.org], an HTML dialect that's processed by JavaScript hosted by Google. Google claims that AMP is quicker for at least three reasons:

      1. The AMP script is less heavy than some of the ad, responsive image, and video display scripts on popular sites.
      2. Elements far above and far below the viewport are removed from the DOM. This makes it less likely that the browser will have to purge other tabs from RAM, nor the operating system other applications.
      3. Documents are mirrored by the www.google.com host, to which the user already holds a TCP connection.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @10:54AM (#55457619) Homepage
      I usually agree with this comment-- I hate TLAs!!!!-- but in this case, the definition is on the first line of the summary.
      • Yup, every time I see a new TLA I think, WTF, but if I say anything someone gives me TMI about something which IDC. BTA, there may be times when a TLA actually improves communication.. But IAC, ATM IDK any situation like that.
      • I usually agree with this comment-- I hate TLAs!!!!-- but in this case, the definition is on the first line of the summary.

        It wasn't when the story first posted. They added it after the collected pernickety hoards of slashdot started pointing it out.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I thought is was an abbreviation for coulomb/second.

    • Embrace and extend (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @12:15PM (#55458123)

      AMP is google dabbling in the microsoft originated corruption process known as Embrace and Extend. You take a standard and fully implement it, then add a few new features. You create huge incentives to use those features such as an IDE that doesn't distinguish between standard and non-standard HTML, and a browser that gets better performance when you use the new features. Pretty soon everyone inadvertently uses the features and all the other parts of the web break except for those using the google browser and google news feeds and google search. The competition and the general standard withers on the vine. You then keep introducing new features, and especially insidious ones, that gather information from users or are introduced ahead of their adequate documentation to stay one step ahead of other implementers. Finally you tie it to features only available on your system, such as the Microsoft OS, or to logged in google users.

      2. profit.

      there is no ??? step in embrace and extend.

      • AMP is google dabbling in the microsoft originated corruption process known as Embrace and Extend.

        Google is the new AOL & CompuServe. Through their powerful search engine and other services they have basically taken over the free web and own it by default. It *is* a sort of embrace and extend, albeit one that comes with quite some empowerment. And for 'free' as in "Brave New World meets 1984 with the brakes removed and you'll love it" sort of vibe.

        While MSes old-school e (embrace extend extinguish) wa

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        You left out the bit about extending with proprietary functions - that only work with the Microsoft implementation of the open standard, and that you're quietly nudged toward using without quite understanding that they're locking you in to that Microsoft implementation.

        This thing, while controlled by Google, isn't quite proprietary. It can be forked. And it since it depends on machine-readable tags in otherwise standard HTML, it can be removed if you decide you don't like Google's influence. I don't see

      • At least give them credit for innovation; instead of embrace and extend they extended and embraced!

        Oracle and Sun both tried that and got laughed at, Google may have it figured out.

    • TFS literally starts with:

      Last week, Ethan Marcotte, an independent web designer, shared how Google describes AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages [wikipedia.org]).

      That first sentence includes both an expansion of the acronym and a link for more information. What more do you want? The Wikipedia article to be copied and pasted into the summary?

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        So Google's trying to do what Verizon and AT&T were doing back in the days of mobile lock in? How history repeats itself.
        • There's a bit more nuance to it than that. What Verizon and AT&T were doing was much more similar to Microsoft's Embrace, Extend, Extinguish policy of days gone by. Google's actions with AMP are similar, to a degree, but they're implementing it in an open way; they've taken the Embrace and Extend steps but, because it's open and anyone can implement it, the Extinguish step simply can't work.

          What Google has done here is create an open standard that is a superset of HTML5; that is, it includes all of HT
          • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

            I think you partly misunderstood my V/ATT reference, at least how it relates to AMP. Back in the pre iPhone days, Verizon and AT&T both had "proxy" web services that would facilitate "faster" service by compressing and caching web content for remote sites, which they then served to you. So you never knew if you were getting a real web site or something cached, along with ads as favored by ATT/V, injected into the cached pages and/or from proxy'd sites.

            I'm sure you're seeing where that's leading me.

            • If I'm understanding correctly, anyone can implement their own AMP services, whereas with V/ATT you were stuck with their proxies. That said, AMP blows goats as a hobby anyway and I really wish it would just go away. I'm still stocking up on popcorn for reasons mentioned in my prior post.
  • by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @10:45AM (#55457577)

    This is much easier to explain through a much more common practice by the same company: the Android "Open Source" Project.

    Let's get this out of the way: Android isn't open source (outside of China at least, where Google is blocked). Period. No discussion. When you have a market so flooded by Android devices shipping with a closed source module, with super user powers, that responds to remote requests, it's not open source. That's Google Play Services for you.

    AMP is just another tool for Google to keep a trendy brand on the dev community, while achieving secondary goals in the process, goals usually related to keeping or stretching their core business, which as we all know, is Big Data and Ads. They want to standardize indeed - standardize your usage patterns into their technologies.

    But the true question is: is that so bad? We eventually have to place our trust in a paltform. Some already live with the apples, others with the windows, yet the gogles always get the bad rep. Maybe we shouldn't worry so much about this specific company. I mean, it is heavily scrutinized already by the competition.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's Google Play Services for you.

      I've got an ancient (circa 2011) smartphone and Google Play Services keeps reinstalling itself on my phone unbidden.

      Re-installing without explicit authorization is a page from the malware playbook.

      My next phone will be one that I can easily root and put LineageOS on.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Google Play Services keeps reinstalling itself on my phone unbidden.

        It's "bidden" all right, by Google Play Store. Remove that and Google Play Services will stop trying to reinstall itself.

    • Yes my Linux OS isn't open source either because I have a binary Nvidia driver and run Chrome as the browser.

      Please learn the difference between the OS specifically advertised with tie-ins to a specific service that companies are shipping on mobile phones, and the Open Source project that has given rise to a number of spin-off tablets by third parties is actively in development with the source code freely available and distributed under an approved license.

      It will make your comment sound less like the rambl

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

      Google Play Services probably has all the aspects that you attribute to it. Though, if I recall, much of the reason a lot of that stuff migrated to Play Services from AOSP was to make sure that it was available on devices that never got OS upgrades. I don't know if that was by design, but I'm willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt and assume that when AOSP was released, they didn't have some nefarious plot to get OEM's to 'force' them to take bits proprietary by not keeping their devices up to da

    • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

      > Let's get this out of the way: Android isn't open source (outside of China at least, where Google is blocked). Period. No discussion. When you have a market so flooded by Android devices shipping with a closed source module, with super user powers, that responds to remote requests, it's not open source. That's Google Play Services for you.

      True, but there are ways around that. Google Play Services isn't mandatory on FOSS releases of android like Lineage.

      My current tablet (a lenovo yoga tab 3, bough

      • Hi cas. Maybe I didn't add context: I flash every other week. I've flashed ever since froyo times and I've lived with and without "gapps". I use f-droid for all my open-source needs.

        What I'm trying to say is: I know which kind of alternatives exist and use them regularly, but not exclusively. I'm not your run of the mill commenter and what I said wasn't said lightly.

        Sorry to put it so offensively, but I won't take shit arguments from someone who admitedly doesn't have apps installed for the simple fact he c

        • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

          > Sorry to put it so offensively, but I won't take shit arguments

          Was I making an argument about Android? No, I was pointing out for the benefit of other readers that neither GPS nor gapps are required. Your disclaimer doesn't diminish the fact that you're an arsehole.

          In fact, it was you who was making a (demonstrably false) argument: "Let's get this out of the way: Android isn't open source (outside of China at least, where Google is blocked). Period. No discussion. When you have a market so floode

          • Congrats on actually replying, it's good to see some still won't drop a good discussion out of the internet's "lost in translation" factor. (I'm giving you a straight compliment if that wasn't clear. No irony).

            I read, and actually understand every single point you mention. I might have even empathized with some it. But I agree with none (!). I value my privacy in different ways - so different they don't prevent me from the perks of societal evolution. Maybe you read Darwin wrong. I won't say I agree with ev

  • AMP is broken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @10:50AM (#55457605) Homepage

    I find that AMP breaks pages and I'd rather turn it off if I could find a way. I can't bookmark the pages, the links are wrong, and sometimes they don't render properly. If I can hack the URL and find the *real* page it usually works better. Google is using AMP as an excuse to take over pages from other sites so they can track people better. At this point, just turn on private browsing mode before using any Google page.

  • Dominance game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @10:55AM (#55457623) Journal
    This sounds like a dominance game to me. Pretend it's an 'open standard' to get it widely adopted, meanwhile you're the one driving the so-called 'open standard'; voila, you're the de-facto alpha.
  • It seems to me that Google is becoming more and more abusive.

    When I go to web pages, often the NoScript and Ghostery add-ons list one or more Google processes. Google is following web site visitors everywhere.

    Google allows cell phone providers to prevent updates to its Android operating system. That forces people who need security to buy new cell phones.

    In general, it seems to me that hardware and software providers are becoming more and more authoritarian. They take advantage of the fact that most people don't know much about technology.

    In my opinion, Microsoft's Windows 10 is NOT USABLE! How can you deliver a computer to a customer when you know what you are delivering is spyware? One article: Windows 10 is possibly the worst spyware ever made. [networkworld.com] Quote from that story: "Buried in the service agreement is permission to poke through everything on your PC." A previous comment about Microsoft: Window 10 Spyware [slashdot.org].

    Technology companies are not only abusive in their design of products, they are abusive in other ways, also:

    Microsoft: Microsoft Is Filled With Abusive Managers And Overworked Employees, Says Tell-All Book. [businessinsider.com]

    Apple: Cupertino Mayor Says Apple 'Abuses Us' [fortune.com]

    Apple again: Criticism of Apple Inc. [wikipedia.org]

    Adobe Systems: Adobe Flash, The Spy in Your Computer -- Part 1 [welivesecurity.com] Adobe seems to me to be one of the original abusers. The company demonstrated to others that average people don't know how to protect themselves from technology abuse.

    Adobe Systems rents software: Software as a Monthly Rental [nytimes.com]
    • Google is becoming more and more abusive

      You preface your post with "becoming" implying an ever increasing change, but all your examples detail an ~5-10 year status quo. 3

      Google has always tracked visitors.

      Android has always always been beholden to the vendor (not the carrier, that is something that seems uniquely American at this point, and side note that Google has put effort into separating the security update process from the core features specifically to make it easier for vendors to provide security updates).

      How can you deliver a computer to a customer when you know what you are delivering is spyware?

      Because users don't care, and cer

      • "... I can't help feel that our lives have been nothing but improved by these companies."

        Google search improved our lives ENORMOUSLY, I agree. In other areas, Google is not as well-managed, in my opinion.
        • gmail.

          In the past we had to use imperfect spam filters. In 1999 I even missed an important email because it was a false-positive in spam! gmail never puts my real mail in spam, and very very little spam makes it through (maybe 1 per month I click on "spam")

          Google search was really good when there was a search language, but now it just mixed keywords with no advanced use control at all. The only thing you can do in most cases is to creatively alter the keyword list; in the past there were a whole bunch of pr

        • Oh yes Google search is the only benefit we have received. To say nothing of:

          Competition in the mobile smartphone marketplace
          Mapping
          Navigation
          Realtime traffic analysis of cities
          Competition in the tablet marketplace
          Competition in the cheap laptop marketplace
          Competition in the browser market place, something which Google specifically emphasised the move towards standards compliance as well as kicked off the race for faster Javascript interpretation.
          Before Google our email inboxes were small,
          Speaking of email

          • You are trying to see areas in which I am wrong, instead of cooperating and trying to see how what I said could be correct.

            Nothing I said was intended to be a complete analysis of Google management of the last few years. I agree that GMail is a wonderful contribution.

            I'm studying how successful companies eventually fail. For me, it was painful to watch Hewlett-Packard destroy itself. One article: How Hewlett-Packard lost its way [fortune.com] (May 8, 2012).

            Another example: Tektronix was once a wonderful leader i
  • by boudie2 ( 1134233 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @11:08AM (#55457675)
    This is one of the problems with Linux these days, license proliferation. I've been using Gentoo for fifteen years and in /usr/portage/licenses there is a description of all 760 of them You can specify in /etc/make.conf which licenses you approve or disprove. It appears that instead of the GPL people are just making up their own and you have to wonder what their motivation is. For instance the "Happy Bunny" license. Restrictions? "By making use of the Software for military purposes, you choose to make a Bunny unhappy." WTF?
  • by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Monday October 30, 2017 @11:11AM (#55457691) Journal

    i'm willing to entertain the claims of this article, but seriously, if "working web developers" had any more input on standards, we'd all need 16-core CPUs and 64GB of RAM just to use a web browser.

    • That's more or less what my 16 cores and 64GB or RAM do 90% of the time, to be quite honest.
      • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

        That's actually a big part of the motivation for my upcoming upgrade to a Threadripper CPU with 64GB RAM.

        I use both chromium and firefox (simultaneously, for different things), currently chromium has 14 windows open with a total of 91 tabs. firefox has 16 windows open with a total of 216 tabs. chromium ( v61.0.3163.100) is currently using 11GB of RAM, and Firefox (v56.0) is using 5GB....that's a large chunk of my 32GB. With everything else that's running on my system, I'm always on the edge of running ou

        • When you finally pull the trigger on a Threadripper build, I bet it will run Crysis like a beast.
        • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

          That's actually a big part of the motivation for my upcoming upgrade to a Threadripper CPU with 64GB RAM.

          I use both chromium and firefox (simultaneously, for different things), currently chromium has 14 windows open with a total of 91 tabs. firefox has 16 windows open with a total of 216 tabs. chromium ( v61.0.3163.100) is currently using 11GB of RAM, and Firefox (v56.0) is using 5GB....that's a large chunk of my 32GB. With everything else that's running on my system, I'm always on the edge of running out of RAM.

          OK, I have something like 23 windows with multiple tabs each (multiple meaning more than 4, not much reason for a window with less the way I organize them) in Safari,I have 24GB, run roughly 3-7 IDEs concurrently (different needs made it easier to customize each IDE for its respective environment) 3 servers, 2 DBs, multiple builds, mail, FireFox for debugging specific performance issues on web pages and host of minor other programs, and I still have 3GB free after 50 days of uptime. (I run all this on a 980

          • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

            Yeah, there is a problem, and it's Chromium. It uses easily 2-4 times as much RAM as Firefox for far fewer tabs/windows. The multi-threaded model uses a LOT of memory. Firefox is getting worse though recently as it is also starting to use multiple threads/processes...a few versions ago, FF averaged around 2-4GB, now it's using 4-6GB. OTOH, it performs better and hopefully one day it will have a task manager view like chromium's so I can see which tabs are using the most CPU or RAM.

            My browsers and other

            • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

              Backups that used to take 10s of minutes or even hours now complete in a few minutes, and I can keep hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly snapshots for each backup....without the abysmal performance of something like rdiff-backup.

              I've been considering moving to ZFS for a few years now, just never got the hardware/time together to test the functionality so I'm comfortable with it, and I still want an offsite copy. As for rsync being slow, it can be, but for my particular use case it's not bad at all. I'm not backing up millions of files with this one, just a write seldom, read a lot store devices (photos, music, movies etc) There's little change once the items get dropped here, and not too much writing. rsync works fine for this. Tha

  • The Trinet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <stuart@gathman.org> on Monday October 30, 2017 @11:12AM (#55457703) Homepage Journal

    It is important to move all urls to google.com, facebook.com, or amazon.com. Because soon, these will be the only 3 websites. GOOG and FB already account for 70% of internet traffic, with AMZN in much of the remainder. This is why all three corporations have mobile apps - so that you don't need that pesky browser that can access other sites. So much angst over DNS and ICANN - but soon DNS will be irrelevant. You'll need a Google or Facebook group. https://staltz.com/the-web-beg... [staltz.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google is the new Microsoft. It's using the whole embrace, extend, extinguish game. Embraces Opensource to appear progressive and like the good guy. Extend it with proprietary stuff without which the open source bits won't work, then eventually extinguish it when there is no hope of using the Opensource alternative which has been left to wither and die.

    There is no way anyone should embrace AMP..it's just a way for them to take the open web and close it off to promote Google. I considered implementing it but

  • AMP: 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate
    • by thomst ( 1640045 )

      AndyKron noted:

      AMP: 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate

      Mod parent +1 Funny, please ...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I consider privacy a very important issue, especially these days when companies like Google constantly scan our Wifi and our locations.

    What really impressed me, is how Google requires that AMP scripts (like v0.js and so on) are REQUIRED to be hosted on Google servers and self-hosting is prohibited. Someone else already noticed this issue and opened a Github issue, but the request to allow self-hosting has so far been ignored.

    This is unacceptable for a supposedly "open" standard.

  • Amp, also known as Ampere. Electromagnetic force between electrical conductors carrying electric current.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Due to this prior art, I request that any other use of AMP be changed to a different name. Also that AMP not be copyright-able nor patent-able.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When I was trying to access a site I have an account on (and I'm already signed in), it was showing me a limited-experience (aka broken experience) page and it adds an extra/unnecessary click to get to the "real" page...

  • AMP is the reason I switched my phone to DuckDuckGo instead of Google. It loads web pages in ways that I canâ(TM)t interact with and there is no way to opt-out.

    No thanks Google!

  • I'm not a fan either. Biggest problem I have with it is when people link share, they end up sharing a google link, not the actual website URL. Whos winning there? Sure, I'm aware and will dig up the actual link, but I know I am a minority here.

    Meanwhile, the general consensus ITT is everyone hates it, but no one knows what to do about it. Easy fix. Set defaults to and search via encrypted.google.com. Not sure how, but it breaks AMP functionality on every machine I have set it on.

    Enjoy!

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