Google has launched an open-source initiative dubbed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that is designed to give publishers a way to load their content faster on mobile devices.
Central to the effort is AMP HTML, a new framework built out of existing Web technologies that Google says will give Website owners a way to build lightweight Web pages optimized for faster loading on mobile devices.
David Besbris, vice president of engineering at Google Search, described AMP as vital to enabling a faster mobile Web.
Although people consume a significant amount of news via their mobile devices, the experience can often be spotty because of unduly long page load times. This can result in people abandoning the content they want to load and move on to something else, he said.
“Every time a webpage takes too long to load, [content publishers] lose a reader—and the opportunity to earn revenue through advertising or subscriptions,” Besbris said in a blog post announcing AMP.
Publishers that use a lot of images, videos, maps and other rich media in their content can speed up load times on mobile devices considerably by incorporating AMP code in their Websites, he said.
“The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project provides an open source approach, allowing publishers to focus on producing great content, while relying on the shared components for high performance and great user experience.”
Accelerated Mobile Pages will also show up higher in mobile search results because of their extremely fast load times and optimization for the mobile Web, according to Google.
Google developed the initial technical specifications for AMP using input from partners in the technology and publishing sectors, Besbris said.
Among the publishers and technology companies that already have plans to integrate AMP into their Websites are WordPress.com, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. So far, some 30 publishers have expressed interest in using AMP, Besbris noted. He added that Google itself will integrate AMP into products like Google News “over time.”
Google’s goal is to get AMP to work across multiple mobile operating systems and devices. Over the next several months, the company will work with additional partners to optimize AMP for faster content load times and improved mobile ad displays on smartphones and tablets.
As part of the AMP initiative, Google has also developed a new content caching technique that will allow publishers to distribute their content more efficiently while also allowing them to host their own content at all times. To help enable this content distribution, Google intends to make its cache servers available for free.
Google has a lot to gain in enabling faster mobile Web pages. As a company that still generates a major chunk of its revenues from the targeted ad business, Google needs to ensure that ads get delivered quickly and in the right context on mobile devices.
As Besbris noted in his blog post, if people abandon Web pages because of slow Web times, advertisers have a hard time getting them to look at ads. And that’s a problem not just for publishers but also for Google, which generates a lot of its money from people clicking on ads.