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Google Network The Internet

Google Will Stop Letting Sites Use AMP Format To Bait and Switch Readers (theverge.com) 57

"Google today announced a forthcoming update to its Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, web format that aims to discourage website owners from misusing the service," reports The Verge. "The company says that, starting in February 2018, AMP pages must contain content nearly identical to that of the standard page they're replicating." From the report: Currently, because AMP pages load faster and more clutter-free versions of a website, they naturally contain both fewer ads and less links to other portions of a site. That's led some site owners to publish two versions of a webpage: a standard page and an AMP-specific one that acts a teaser of sorts that directs users to the original. That original page, or canonical page in Google parlance, is by nature a slower loading page containing more ads and with a potentially lower bounce rate, which is the percentage of viewers who only view one page before leaving. Now, Google is cracking down on that behavior. "AMP was introduced to dramatically improve the performance of the web and deliver a fast, consistent content consumption experience," writes Ashish Mehta, an AMP product manager. "In keeping with this goal, we'll be enforcing the requirement of close parity between AMP and canonical page, for pages that wish to be shown in Google Search as AMPs."
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Google Will Stop Letting Sites Use AMP Format To Bait and Switch Readers

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  • I'm getting old. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 17, 2017 @03:22AM (#55568065)

    I remember when Google just indexed web pages and tried to provide relevant search results.

    • by Imrik ( 148191 )

      In this case, they're still doing that. This is part of providing relevant search results.

      • Yeah, but he's one of Google customers.
        And this definitely doesn't provide him with relevant results to his searches.

        That is, he's an advertiser, and this doesn't provide more eyeballs to his search trying to find the most appropriate victims to inflict his ads upon.

        (None of the customer gives a shit if the "product", i.e "the users owning the above-mentioned eyeballs" is having a better time...
        This fucking article must be yet another campain by PETA about fair treatment of farm animals...)

        • the users owning the above-mentioned eyeballs

          In the not-to-distant-future your eyeballs will actually be owned by some google-glass-style faceless corporation, and licenced back to your skull in return for mandated advertising consumption.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "This is part of providing relevant search results."

        Google has failed to provide relevant search results so many times now that I no longer use them for web searches or shopping.

        When I type in "1/2" x 24 TPI Nut" I don't want to see fucking tap and die sets, I want to see a fucking nut.

        And the only reason I'm seeing these tap and die sets is because they're SPONSORED, so I have to go a few pages of search results deep to find what I want.

        Google's search is so much hot garbage that my fiance's Undergrad prog

      • It is? From where I sit, it looks like the opposite of that.

        AMP is awful.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I vaguely remember Google as something I used before switching to DuckDuckGo.

    • AMP started off as way to make pages load faster on mobile. I suspect it will end up with everyone hosting their content on Google servers and showing only Google approved ads. Everyone Google approves of politically that is. Anyone they don't approve of will get their content de-monetized or banned from both Google servers and Google search results. Just like Google did with Youtube videos after it bought the company.

      It's like how Microsoft went from helpful supplier of operating systems which could run on

      • Funny you should mention that, I was just about to send a friend a link to a story referenced on here and noticed after I'd clicked send that it wasn't the story itself but some AMP man-in-the-middle attack version courtesy of Google. How about they just turn this crap off and give us the real, original content, not Google's version of the content.
      • by Jzanu ( 668651 )
        You mean a private company isn't regulated by the state to act against its interests when there is no actual reason to change anything, but that somehow makes you complain.... That isn't grounds for anything, but if you as a consumer choose to change your business interactions you can do that freely. The rest of us will just see your shallow assessment as a sign that some Ivans need to find real jobs to get off the Russian teat.
        • So everyone who criticises Google is a Russian agent? Are they all Nazis too?

          • by Jzanu ( 668651 )
            No, the Russian fascists only support Nazis in the US and Ukraine. They prefer Russian ultra-nationalists otherwise. Note also that Nazis are really a failed authoritarian group founded by ex-soldiers and infiltrated by Hitler for army surveillance before he himself let loose the real crazy and stupid.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        AMP is about Google trying to hoover up the web's content and host it themselves to harvest all the data they can and deny this valuable resource to website owners. Oh, and only Google advertising platforms are properly supported in AMP.

        The claim that AMP is about speed is spurious. AMP pages are fast, but that is because they are stripped down, with many parts of the HTML/JS/CSS standard removed. If you build a version of your website as stripped down as an AMP page, the performance difference is a wash.

        • Doesn't surprise me. Nor does getting called a Russian Nazi shill for pointing it out.

          • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

            Doesn't surprise me. Nor does getting called a Russian Nazi shill for pointing it out.

            Keep "bait and switch" where it belongs, in the hands of car dealerships and politicians.

    • I remember when Google just indexed web pages and tried to provide relevant search results.

      I do too, the internet sucked back then. Things had to find, services few and far between, and without search engines influencing web design we ended up with a shitstorm of stupid design tactics to try and make websites relevant.

      [insert word salad here in the hopes that this comment will show up better in search result and thus gets some good mod points]

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @03:46AM (#55568093)

    That original page, or canonical page in Google parlance ...

    Ubuntu AMP pages can show whatever they want because they're also canonical pages. :-)

  • I like AMP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 17, 2017 @04:53AM (#55568199)

    Because if something says AMP on the search result I can pretty much guarantee it's not something i want to look at and can ignore.
    No idea why, but the correlation is strong.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How many sites are getting on to the front page where they have no page behind them, and the URL is nothing more than a search argument being passed to a domain? How does a page that does not exist get "found" by google's indexing? It doesn't. It's backdoor payment functionality.

  • ...And... , you're on the hook.

    Google is now just as much about power as companies like Microsoft, Apple and Oracle. You should not get into bed with them that easily.

  • The Death of AMP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 17, 2017 @08:04AM (#55568623)

    I hated AMP as soon as it arrived because you need to develop and maintain two completely separate websites basically, a horror show. And one of those websites -- AMP -- is completely non-standard.

    You can't even use server-side includes or an included CSS page, all the CSS has to be hard-coded into the head on the page.

    This is why many people wrote a smaller AMP "teaser" page that simply linked to the full HTML5 version.

    They're disallowing that tactic now and hopefully that will kill AMP once and for all. Who wants to maintain a hard-coded AMP website? And what about all the AMP "teaser" pages out there already, will they be disallowed?

    By the way, I never found any speed difference whatsoever between AMP pages and our regular HTML5 pages, despite all the server-side includes in the latter. If you write good, clean, validated code, rather than the garbage on most websites, you're fine.

    My feeling is that this new dictum will kill AMP for sure this time. If webmasters simply said "No" to AMP, it would die.

  • Pot Kettle Black (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RDW ( 41497 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @08:05AM (#55568627)

    I really wish Google, apparently with the collusion of the websites, would stop shoving AMP down my throat in the first place. Since they helpfully nuked text reflow on zoom in the Android libraries, I've been using Opera as my main mobile browser because it fixes this. Except for AMP pages, where I'm stuck with their fixed format until I tap through to the original page. How about a 'load canonical page' setting in the google search options?

    • I've got to agree. "AMP - load complete and utter shit faster than you can with HTML!"

      I'd love to just turn off AMP altogether, or at least have a "view normal mobile version" always available. I'm not sure there's ever been a time I've clicked on an AMP link and not wished I could just use the normal site. For that matter, I wonder why some news outlets are using AMP - if you go to an actual website, there's at least a small chance you might stay there. AMP doesn't really 'take' you anywhere, so there's no

      • There is a little link icon at the top right that you can click to go through to the actual page.

      • Re:Pot Kettle Black (Score:4, Informative)

        by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish DOT info AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 17, 2017 @10:03AM (#55569063) Homepage

        I'd like never to see the mobile version of a site even on a mobile device. Wikipedia is *especially* annoying in this regard, choosing to disregard completely my UA's built-in "show normal version" option.

        • by pots ( 5047349 )
          The Firefox mobile version (or IceCat, if you're getting it from fDroid) has an option for this built-in, one that I find myself using most of the time. Works fine with Wikipedia.
          • I use FF on my phone, and, no, it doesn't.

            • by pots ( 5047349 )
              It does for me... Hm. Okay, it looks like maybe the reason that it's not working for you is because your mobile network provider is blocking desktop sites. In which case it has nothing to do with the browser. Try it over wifi and see if it still doesn't work.
              • It has nothing to do with my Internet connection. It has everything to do with the fact that, if Wikipedia detects that you're using a phone or tablet, it redirects you to m.wikipedia.org, and you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the fucking page and choose "Desktop view" and it blissfully ignores FF's "Request desktop site", which no other fucking site on the fucking Internet seems to do. It is completely un-fucking-called for, and fucking arrogant as hell.

                • by pots ( 5047349 )
                  Once again: it works fine for me. Looking at Wikipedia right now on my Android tablet - I requested the desktop site, and that's what I got. Using my home wifi. If it's not your ISP then I don't know what your issue is, but maybe you should look deeper.
    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      How about a 'load canonical page' setting in the google search options?

      Yeah, but then other surveillance companies will monitor you, instead of just Google.

      AMP was created as a response to Facebook's "Instant Articles [facebook.com]," which is pretty much the same idea, but with Facebook as the surveillance company instead of Google.

      Apparently, it's not acceptable to serve ads without a few megabytes of javascript spyware, which is why the "mobile web" hard performance issues to begin with.

  • On mobile they just feel useless, but on the desktop it totally scales up to the full browser window (hey, your device is 6 inch, isn't it? 22 inch? I do not believe you!) and no site ever implements redirects from mobile to desktop versions, only the other way round. Then the mobile users share urls with you and you have to figure out where to remove "/amp/", "m." or similar parts of the url.

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