Though it’s fighting an uphill battle, Google seems to be gaining traction with “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” and now plans to launch service by early next year.
Like Facebook’s Instant Articles initiative, Google’s clumsily named service promises publishers faster delivery of their content over mobile devices.
Unlike Facebook’s offering -- and Apple News -- AMP is designed to work across multiple platforms, is open-sourced, and available to any publisher who wants to participate. Of course, Google is also promising partner publishers more prominent display in its search results.
And, publishers and developers are proving receptive. So far, 4,500 developers have started following the project on Google’s Github repository, while 250 contributions of code and documentation have come in, according to the search giant.
What’s more, AOL, Outbrain, OpenX are already developing ads specifically for the project.
That’s in addition to a growing list of publisher partners, including The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Vox Media, and The Guardian, while big-name partners planning to integrate AMP HTML pages include Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, LinkedIn, and Adobe Analytics.
The fact remains, however, that Google hasn’t always had the best relationship with publishers, many of whom still accuse the company of leeching off the hard work of those who actually create quality original content.
More troubling are questions about Google’s place in an increasingly mobile world, which have obvious implications for the success of AMP. According to one analysis, a full 50% of mobile users don’t use their devices to search.
That doesn’t necessarily mean mobile users won’t go to Google for other things (like news aggregation), but it does deprive the company of what has long been its key differentiator.