Google AMP Will Soon Show Publisher URLs on Supported Web Browsers
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) speed up websites in part by caching contents with AMP Cache, which stores them on Google’s servers. It generally works pretty well, but there’s a pretty annoying side effect: Every page’s address is replaced with an AMP-specific URL, which makes sharing and bookmarking them a tad inconvenient (unless you use an app like DeAMPify). Luckily, that’s finally changing.
This week, Malte Ubl, Tech Lead for the AMP Project, announced that the team will introduce a new version of the AMP Cache based on the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Packaging standard. In plain English, current and future AMP URLs will look and act like normal, non-AMP addresses, but take advantage of Google’s preloading and performance technologies behind the scenes.
“When we first launched AMP in Google Search we made a big trade-off: To achieve the user experience that users were telling us that they wanted, instant loading, we needed to start loading the page before the user clicked.” Malte wrote in a blog post. “As we detailed in a deep-dive blog post last year, privacy reasons make it basically impossible to load the page from the publisher’s server […] Instead, AMP pages are loaded from the Google AMP Cache but with that behavior the URLs changed to include the google.com/amp/ URL prefix.”
Google says it’s encouraged by early results with Web Packaging in prototype versions of Chrome and Google Search, and that it’ll soon begin implementing Web Packaging in the AMP Cache. The only downside: Web browsers have to be updated to take advantage.
The fix might not be an easy one, but it’s better than the band-aid solutions the search giant’s tried so far. Earlier this year, it made it slightly easier to copy the original URL of AMP-accelerated pages, and added a clickable header that revealed the page’s full address. (The half-measures didn’t impress Apple, which went so far as to engineer a workaround in the iOS version of Safari.)
Malte’s pegging the “second half of 2018” as the rollout date for the new AMP Cache. Hopefully, the necessary web browser updates follow shortly after.