ICYMI: News Publishers are Being Held Hostage by Google’s AMP–and it’s About to Get Worse

WASHINGTON, DC – Webdeveloper and tech writer, Owen Williams, breaks down why Google’s AMP update comes with a major catch – one that will continue to decimate the news industry. 

When it launched, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) promised to speed up load times on websites accessed via phone. Now, AMP will be spread across desktop sites as well as mobile devices, and as Williams says, AMP “became a tool for entrenching Google’s technology into the web itself.”

While AMP was launched with a focus on news publishers, it’s the news industry that is set to lose the most. 

John Stanton, former DC bureau chief for BuzzFeed who was laid off in January and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project said, “Google’s monopoly over the internet and how users are able to view content is spreading like wildfire. Not only are they stealing content and actual revenue from the hard-working journalists doing the work, they’ve now given the news industry an ultimatum: comply with Google’s AMP technology or essentially get erased from the internet.” 

Owen Williams’ story is excerpted below and available online in full here:

AMP strips publishers of full autonomy and control over their content. Hosted AMP pages obfuscate the source of what you’re reading, removes some control over your own brand, and essentially allows Google to use your content for free under the guise of making the web better. It hides your URL in favor of a Google.com-hosted version…

All of which is to say that AMP is a way for Google to own the browsing experience. Sure, it’s technically optional — but it’s not really an option. If developers don’t use it, they stand to miss out on important traffic. Their websites will rank significantly lower in search. Google is by far the dominant search engine, with 92% market share worldwide and 94.5% on mobile. It’s simply impossible to ignore…

If you want to jump in and use AMP for your subscription journalism, for example, `there’s a handy component for that. The catch? The only provider available for it is created by Google.

And readers can’t automatically opt out of AMP. Using AMP means a stripped-down version of the page that can be difficult to copy a link from or browse the rest of the publisher’s site — let alone avoid being tracked by Google as you’re reading. Nearly five years into AMP, there’s still no way to say that you prefer the full version of sites or that you don’t want to be served AMP pages at all. The only way to avoid them is by not clicking anything with the AMP logo in search