If you read my recent review of the Dotcom-Monitor Website Speed Test, then you would’ve remembered that I mentioned about Google’s passion for page speed. This passion or obsession with page speed continues with Google introducing their latest project called Accelerated Mobile Pages which was announced on their official blog earlier today.
Here’s the introductory post on Accelerated Mobile Pages as published on the official Google blog:
Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we access information, and today people consume a tremendous amount of news on their phones. Publishers around the world use the mobile web to reach these readers, but the experience can often leave a lot to be desired. Every time a webpage takes too long to load, they lose a reader–and the opportunity to earn revenue through advertising or subscriptions. That’s because advertisers on these websites have a hard time getting consumers to pay attention to their ads when the pages load so slowly that people abandon them entirely.
Today, after discussions with publishers and technology companies around the world, we’re announcing a new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages, which aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web. We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously. We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant–no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using.
The project relies on AMP HTML, a new open framework built entirely out of existing web technologies, which allows websites to build light-weight webpages.
So how does Accelerated Mobile Pages work? Here’s what the answer from the FAQ page:
Accelerated Mobile Pages are just like any other HTML page, but with a limited set of allowed technical functionality that is defined and governed by the open source AMP spec. Just like all web pages, Accelerated Mobile Pages will load in any modern browser or app webview. AMP files take advantage of various technical and architectural approaches that prioritize speed to provide a faster experience for users. The goal is not to homogenize how content looks and feels, but instead to build a more common technical core between pages that speeds up load times.
In addition, AMP files can be cached in the cloud in order to reduce the time content takes to get a user’s mobile device. Under this type of framework, publishers continue to control their content, but platforms can easily cache or mirror the content for optimal delivery speed users. Google has stated that it will provide a cache that can be used by anyone at no cost, though the cache (Google’s or otherwise) is not required. Other companies may build their own cache as well.
In summary, the goal is that that the combination of limited technical functionality with a distribution system built around caching will lead to better performing pages, and increased audience development for publishers.
To learn more about Accelerated Mobile Pages, check out the FAQ page.
In the coming months, Google will be working further with folks participating in this project in order to build more features as well as create more functionality with focus on these particular key areas: Content, Distribution and Advertising.
Over time, other Google products like Google News will also integrate AMP HTML pages. Below is the list of publishers and technology companies who are taking part in this project with the purpose of making mobile web better and faster.
These are just the initial partners that have enlisted in time for the launching of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). I’m pretty sure many other publishers and tech companies will follow suit in the coming days.
It’s good to know that Automattic is joining this movement and have already begun development on a plugin that supports the AMP specification. This will allow WordPress.com users to create and produce AMP-formatted content without having to lift a finger except to click on the publish button. It’s still in the early stages of development but it’s already up and running on WordPress.com.
I’m looking forward to having this plugin as well as this feature adapted/implemented into self-hosted WordPress blogs and websites. It will enable us users to not only provide a better user experience to our readers but it will also help improve the overall quality of the mobile pages in terms of speed and usability.
The more people share and work on this project the better it will be. Interested parties could join in and contribute to this project as well as provide feedback with the development team via GitHub.