Why I am not too enthusiastic about AMP

Published in: Google

According to Google, the whole point of AMP is for mobile users to have fast access to websites without users having to worry about large data usage or load time. There is also issues with websites having pop-up ads, too many external/internal javascript loading, which causes websites to become slow and run background process even after initial loading. AMP prevents this by limiting the amount of CSS/js codes you can use and AMP markups are a small version of the standard HTML/CSS/js code, so in essence, there are not many things you can do with an AMP site – which is why it’s fast.

The problem is you can already make websites extremely fast without having to resort to yet another markup scheme for mobile users. Most sites (including this site) are extremely fast thanks to HTTPS / HTTP2 / Server push / CDN / minifications / browser cache/ compression / and so many other tricks out there. A lot of these were result of active push from Google themselves – more specifically HTTPS is being aggressively pushed by both chrome and firefox and others browsers with visual queues on browser address bar and I don’t think it will be long before non-https sites might eventually get blocked by most browsers (still might take some time), HTTP2 is an evolved version of SPDY protocol made and championed by Google, HTTP2 is only possible if your site already has HTTPS. CDNs are now more or less a commodity thanks to Cloudflare, not too long ago CDN used to be a big deal, it’s mainstream now.

Google also pushed the issue of speed by making search ranking algorithm take site speed as an important consideration (among other things), so it was only natural for a site which depends badly on google search results to feel pressured to implement features like HTTPS, HTTP2. Google has very powerful influence over the web to reshape technology indirectly. Most of the time, it’s for good reasons.

But AMP is not that same, I have tried turning on AMP using WordPress AMP plugin and I have tested both non-amp and amped site and the difference in speed are few milliseconds, not to mention it broke a lot of visual layout of the site – which will require me to do extra work to get it fixed. So naturally, it would make little sense for me to implement AMP on my site – but Google seems to promote sites with AMP on search results – which puts an incentive – however unnecessary it is for me to implement AMP and fix those rendering issues.

Most people (rightfully) thinks AMP is a result of Facebook implementing a similar product. To me, both facebook’s implementation and Google’s AMP feels like such a huge step backward – as if we are back to the walled garden of AOL days. Naturally, I am not too excited about this – but chances are high that I will end up implementing AMP on this. I write this blog because I want users to read my blog – but if google seriously pushes against non-amped sites on their search result – I won’t have a lot of option but to implement it. Probably much sooner than later. Hopefully, on my next attempt with AMP, I will have a better experience.

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