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You may want to keep an eye on Google AMP

Right now the world seems to want two things: to view websites on their mobile phones, and for those websites to load fast.

Over the past twelve months we’ve seen Facebook launch “Instant Articles”, Apple Launch “Apple News”, and now – just last month – Google launch its much anticipated Accelerated Mobile Platform (AMP).

As Tuts+ discovered recently, the funny thing about AMP pages is that they’re not actually going to make every website on earth load faster, referring to an AMP Project article:

“Every web page can have these optimizations, but AMP pages cannot not have them. While this article is about optimizations in AMP, it might also be useful as a kind of todo list for optimizing a non-AMP website.”

But what this project may do is incite a wave of change amongst popular websites, creating a new standard for how quickly websites should load on mobile. Which is why it’s important to pay attention to this upcoming trend.

As the Tuts+ tests show, right now leaner websites probably aren’t going to experience much of an improvement in load time when converted to the AMP format. In fact, most saw a slight downgrade, taking longer to load if anything. However, the ideal candidate for the AMP treatment are sites with lots of heavy content, most notably news sites, and according to Digiday they’re signing up to be a part of Google’s AMP in droves.

Many of the world’s biggest publishers, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and BuzzFeed have all jumped – albeit skeptically – into Facebook’s “Instant Articles” project, which has made the experience of reading their content on its social media app a much smoother experience. However with Google’s AMP, they’ve been less hesitant to take part thanks to its open-source nature – setting the scene for this platform to become an internet standard, but also because it provides publishers who who work under a subscription model to maintain their paywalls, something “Instant Articles” and “Apple News” doesn’t allow them to do.

Which may be why AMP – which is less than a month old – has already seen The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Daily Mail and Mic join the platform in the US, and European publishers like The Guardian, International Business Times, Trinity Mirror, Financial Times and Axel Springer also come on board.

Claiming load speeds 85% faster than what they are currently, Google has told Digiday they’ve got 6,000 developers working on developing pages for AMP.

WordPress is coming to the party as well, with Search Engine Land reporting an official plugin by Automattic/WordPress has been developed and consistently updated to help implement AMP on WordPress websites.

And this development isn’t completely out of the blue. We’ve seen Google and other search engines trying to move things in this direction for quite some time with things like Schema.org, a collaboration between Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! designed to help search engines understand the information on web pages, and provide more detail within search results established a while back. In-fact some of our ThemeForest items already offer “Schema Support”.

But once again, Google AMP isn’t something every website should be adopting right away. It’s something to keep an eye on, if for no other reason than because Google is choosing to make converting web pages to this diet HTML a priority.

Google holds the keys to a lot of castles on the internet, and it will be fascinating to watch and see whether this trend of standardized fast loading pages become favored by its search engine results.

As I said, you may want to keep an eye on this.