Google last week announced Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, an open source initiative to speed up mobile Web page loading.
The aim is to have Web pages with rich content — video, animations and graphics — work alongside smart ads and load instantly, with one code working across multiple platforms and devices.
The project will use AMP HTML, an open framework based on existing Web technologies, which lets developers build lightweight Web pages. It will also allow publishers to host their own content and flexibly integrate their advertising and business models.
Pages will be accelerated using caches created by Google and others. Tapping into Google's caches will reduce turnaround time when people request a page. AMP has drawn publishers such as Time, The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, and companies in Portugal, Spain, China and Japan.
Technology partners include Twitter, WordPress, Parse.ly, Pinterest, Nuzzel, LinkedIn and Adobe Analytics. It could be argued that publishers and anyone carrying ads are signing on with AMP partly because Google is a major advertising channel.
There's another, possibly more important, reason: the loss of revenue caused by ad blocking. There are currently 198 million active ad-block software users worldwide, according to a recent survey, and ad blocking will cost publishers nearly US$22 billion this year.
"Current ad loads on mobile pages are so large that in some instances they account for two-thirds of what people pay for the Web page load," said Michael Goodman, a research director at Strategy Analytics. AMP "is an effort by Google to make ads more palatable to users and reduce their incentive to use ad-blocking software," he said.
Facebook's and Apple's recent moves in the field of news distribution also may have spurred Google to launch AMP. News is sticky, and platform-centric competitors like Google place a premium on the engagement they deliver.