When Google first unveiled its open-source AMP project in 2015, it had good intentions. He wanted to use these Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) to accelerate the transition to the mobile web, allowing sites to easily create fast, mobile-optimized pages without too much headache. Unfortunately, Google has also favored sites that use AMP over those that don’t for its featured article carousel, essentially forcing almost every publication to create an AMP version of their sites. While Google has since reversed that decision, AMP still exists. That’s why privacy-focused browser Brave and private search engine DuckDuckGo decided to take matters into their own hands and block AMP on their platforms.
Brave and DuckDuckGo cite privacy issues with AMP. DuckDuckGo explains in a tweet that AMP is bad for privacy because it allows Google to track users even more. The technology would also help the company further cement its monopoly on search, forcing publishers and websites to create AMP sites in hopes of higher rankings. Brave strikes a similar note in a long blog post, saying AMP is bad for privacy and makes it easy to monopolize the web. AMP would also confuse users as to which site they are visiting, tricking them into thinking they are on a publisher’s webpage when they are still on a site served by google.com. And as Google itself stated in a report to the DOJ, cited by Brave, AMP has its own performance and usability issues that often make it worse than well-optimized mobile websites.
Good old AMP links in the top stories carousel
A Google spokesperson refutes the allegations in a statement to Android Police, saying the “allegations are misleading, confuse a number of different web projects and standards, and repeat a number of false claims. The circumvention AMP caching goes against the choice that sites have made to provide a fast, high-quality experience for their visitors.
“AMP is an open source framework that was developed in collaboration developed with publishers, tech companies and Google to make web content load faster – at the time of its creation, it took an average of 19 seconds to load a mobile webpage over a 3G connection,” the spokesperson further explains. “Today “AMP continues to be a useful way for websites and publishers, especially those without large development teams, to easily create great web experiences.”
Danny Sullivan, Google’s search liaison, clarifies that AMP never changed search ranking itself and only affected the news carousel in the past, but not anymore. However, none of these spokespersons directly addressed the privacy concerns shared by Brave and DuckDuckGo, and it’s arguable that a website that appears in the news carousel ranks higher than any other result below it.
Google’s AMP technology, for all its good intentions, was controversial from the start, and the industry seems to be moving away from it. Major publishers like Vox Media have stopped or are considering stopping serving AMP altogether, and Google has further emphasized AMP in search results by removing the lighting bolt next to them that differentiated them. ordinary web pages in the past.
Brave had its own privacy issue to contend with a few years ago. The browser was found injecting its own referral codes into links to certain cryptocurrency sites, which theoretically allowed the company to see a certain amount of data about users who sign up online. using the referral link. However, he has long since stopped this practice.
De-amp is currently in testing in Brave Beta and Nightly and will be enabled by default once the next browser version, v1.38, is released on desktop and Android. Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo has already enabled its AMP protection on its browser extensions and mobile apps.
UPDATED: 2022/04/22 05:01 EST BY MANUEL VONAU
A Google spokesperson contacted us with a statement from Google, similar to the one The Verge received and included in this article earlier. We have updated the article with the statement given to us.
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