Brave on Tuesday announced a new feature for its browser: De-AMP, which automatically skips past any page rendered with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages framework and takes users directly to the original website. “Where possible, De-AMP will rewrite links and URLs to completely prevent users from visiting AMP pages,” Brave said in a blog post. “And in cases where that’s not possible, Brave will monitor page fetching and redirect users away from AMP pages before the page is even rendered, preventing AMP/Google code from loading and executing.”
Brave touted De-AMP as a privacy feature and didn’t mince words about its stance on Google’s web version. “In practice, AMP is harmful to users and to the web in general,” Brave’s blog post said, before explaining that AMP gives Google even more insight into users’ browsing habits. confuses users and can often be slower than normal web pages. And he warned that the next version of AMP – so far called AMP 2.0 – will be even worse.
Brave’s position is particularly strong, but the tide has turned harsh against AMP over the past two years. Google originally created the framework to simplify and speed up mobile websites, and AMP is now maintained by a group of open source contributors. It was controversial from the start and felt to some like Google trying to exert even more control over the web. Over time, more and more companies and users became concerned about this control and chafed at the idea that Google would prioritize AMP pages in search results. Plus, the rest of the internet finally figured out how to build great mobile sites, which made AMP — and similar projects like Facebook Instant Articles — less important.
A number of popular apps and browser extensions make it easy for users to bypass AMP pages and, in recent years, editors (including The edge parent company Vox Media) have stopped using it altogether. AMP even became part of the antitrust fight against Google: a lawsuit alleged that AMP helped centralize Google’s power as an ad exchange and that Google was slowing down the loading of non-AMP ads.
Still, no one has chased AMP as hard as Brave. De-AMP is somewhat reminiscent of Mozilla’s Facebook Container extension, which was created in 2018 to allow Firefox users to block Facebook from tracking them around the web. It’s a statement of values in the form of a new feature. Google has also been a target for Brave for years; Brave has published blog posts complaining about Google’s privacy features and has even gone so far as to create its own search engine. Brave has long marketed itself as a privacy-focused browser, so Google is a logical villain to pick.
Of course, for all the bravado and development of Brave, it only holds a tiny sliver of the browser market, and Chrome continues to dominate. So no matter how badly the internet turns against it, AMP won’t die until Google kills it.