Google’s AMPing up your mobile browsing speeds more than ever

19 May 2017

Image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Google’s AMP project has reached new heights, with 2bn pages across almost 1m domains now loading twice as fast as before.

Have you noticed that browsing the internet on your mobile has become increasingly fast, a lighter experience?

That’s probably something to do with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), one of Google’s many successful tweaks to the browsing experience.

A project to get people reading content quicker, AMP seems like a runaway success.

According to Google’s latest figures, pages read through AMP load twice as fast as before, via Google Search, with 2bn pages across 900,000 domains now read through the medium.

Even more interestingly, partnerships and advertising mechanisms are changing, fast.

For example, two of China’s largest social networks, Tencent Qzone and Weibo, are now incorporating the tool.

Tumblr and Twitter are fans too, but it’s e-commerce interest that is peaking now. Zalando, eBay and Myntra now support AMP to some degree, with AliExpress’s experience in China seeing a 4pc uplift in conversions, according to Google.

“AMP’s new speed gains in Google search are due to several key optimisations that we made to the Google AMP cache,” said Matt Ludwig, AMP project marketing lead at Google.

These “optimisations” include the server-side rendering of AMP components, and reducing bandwidth usage from images by 50pc without affecting the perceived quality.

“We also used a compression algorithm called Brotli that Google launched a couple years ago, resulting in a reduced document size by an additional 10pc in supported browsers.”

Sharing articles on AMP takes an extra step, as revealing the URL takes two clicks, rather than one. This sounds minor but the number of filters has a strong correlation with the amount of interaction that online content enjoys.

It all makes for a pretty solid user experience, though the company was forced to defend accusations that it was stealing traffic from original domains.

This was all revealed at Google’s I/O this week, where the newest Android beta emerged. Elsewhere, Google Assistant is coming to Home and iPhone, with a new ‘smart reply’ tool for mobile.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic