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I've been thinking about implications of Google's AMP ambitions for web standards, and can't shake the This Is Getting Worse feeling. So, time for some AMP GAME THEORY. j/k but seriously here are my thoughts on AMP. 1/?
45 replies and sub-replies as of Feb 17 2018

With the announcement of AMP stories, AMP for email, and just-build-your-whole-site-in-AMP, it's clear that these concerns are being realised. AMP is now a Google-driven metaplatform that spans the SERPs, web & email. Google forked the web.
Why? To compete with Facebook. Most of what AMP offers are me-too FB/IG features. Instant Pages, Stories, Carousels... It's clear G thinks the properties it controls (, need feature parity with FB's platforms: FB, IG, Messenger.
Day 8 of the Doodle Snow Games!
Day 8 of the Doodle Snow Games! ❄ #GoogleDoodle
Reminds me of ex-Googler Steve Yegge's post: "[Google now] play the dangerous but easier game of using competitor activity as a proxy for what customers really need [...] They are stuck in me-too mode."… Ie: FB has it, customers must want it, we need it.
Why I left Google to join Grab – Steve Yegge – Medium
Note: This is my first time using Medium. Please forgive any faux pas. Also, it’s pretty long even for me, so you might want to go grab a…
What does this mean for web standards? Google is now using the letter of web standards to flagrantly violate the spirit of web standards: using its corporate dominance to achieve its corporate ends. I'm not sure if AMP started with this intention or not, but it doesn't matter.
We've been here before with the web standards movement ( We have standards bodies for a reason: what's good for one corporation's short term competitive interests isn't necessarily good for the web's long term health.
It's clear that this is a lesson we'll need to re-learn again and again. But it's worth acknowledging the way Google is hiding its blatant corporate interests behind its tech *and* its engineers is just gross.
Google's VPs were smart enough to dress up the initiative with enough buzzwords (neutral branding, "open source" etc) *and* people who genuinely care about the web.
This is ingenious because they can enlist their employee's passion for the web as well as *volunteers* to help with the technical implementation of their corporate strategy. Get it? Volunteers helping implement the Google Web Fork (GWF?) so Google can chase Facebook. G R O S S
Imagine if Microsoft implemented Microsoft Web Fork in the 90s/00s (they tried). Not ok then, not ok now. Why? The web wasn't MS's then, & it's not Google's to re-implement now. Who's looking after ActiveX content? Flash? Java? AMP is going to be the mess we get to clean up.
Sure, AMP made a sorta-kinda sense when they wanted faster pages on mobile, even if they had to break urls, accessibility, native scrolling to get there (~ugh~). But autoplay video and music in Stories? JavaScript in your email? Just gross. That's not making anything faster.
Problem is, appeals to "The AMP team" seem futile, because the AMP team's domain *is purely technical implementation*. It's the VP's that are pulling the strings here (presumably Dave Besbris - @tweetbez). But all we can do is appeal to the engineers involved.
So, @cramforce & @AMPhtml team, you have some of the most lucrative skills on the planet, please reconsider what you’re using them for. The web isn't yours to remake, and the tools you’re providing your management with are too dangerous for the web you intend to help.
Whatever AMP started as, you’re now riding the bull of corporate self interest in the web standards china shop, and once you’ve moved on to another job & G's corporate goals change, we’re the ones who will be left to clean it up. Don't be a kinder, gentler Microsoft. Reconsider.
And you know what the worst part is? They know they are destroying the web and that everyone hates them for it.. and they don't budge even an inch. Remember don't be evil? F*** Google.
That's for the reminder that I need to start de-tangling myself from googles "services".
Thank you for this thread.
They also helped facilitate Breitbart’s and other far right sites rise by giving them premium placement on mobile - not sure why this doesn’t get more attention tbh
Indeed. Someday @cramforce is going to realize what he's done. And it's going to be too late for him. Because he can't uncheck in code. He'll have created a weapon of mass destruction for the Internet and handed it to a global monopoly. And he's going to have to live with that.
Engineers in general REALLY need to think about what they're doing, because a lot of what they do can't be undone.
I’m sympathetic to engineers on AMP - make web faster for all! solve hard problems! have an impact! I’m sure it’s fun & rewarding. I also think it *can* be undone because competitive landscape will change just like it did for MS… but they won't be ones to undo it, we will be :(
Google is actively lobbying ICANN, but staying in the shadows as they don't want any bad PR.
What did you mean by alluding to WaSP?
Thank you for an important thread! Please share the Redirect AMP to HTML extension so people can fight back against this development by not using or linking to AMP pages…
HTTP is a resilient well defined multi-platform declarative language that belongs to a community not a corporation. AMP seems limited and far less resilient. #opensource #openweb
but if your sites, pages, etc aren’t surfaced in goog’s search results the same way AMP stuff is, it’s irrelevant
That’s true and part of my point: a standard imposed by monopoly power
and that's my point: regardless of whether HTTP itself is resilient, or whether proper HTML/CSS/JS are in a position to leverage their market position in search to force AMP through regardless, making it irrelevant whether HTTP/HTML/etc are resilient or not
At this point anyone who works for Google is voluntarily complicit in every evil thing they do.
Eh... I mean AOL, Facebook, etc. successful but you end up dying in your own little corner of the web. I’m not too worried. Well... AMP’s effects on publishers is legit scary but I feel the rest of it will start fast then die down
Excellent thread, @lukestevens. Thanks for the thoughts.
Why not post this as a blog post?
So we can fav the pieces we like and respond piecewise & thread the discussion(, jackass).
Also making it a blog isn't a bad idea but i dislike & am so tired of ”blog post?!” nonsense. Twitter is so much better, short pieces building long threads are great, RT's are amazing.
Surely you see the irony in complaining about a tech giant privatizing the web by… replacing what could be a web page with tweets on a tech company’s platform. Posts will last longer, show up in more searches. Dude we can retweet link tweets even better than threads.
Google has never defended the premise that they must serve the content, except to say some people aren't good at it. I find that to be rancid & attrocious & not at all acceptable.
Everything else I'm pretty sympathetic to. Web developers without constraints- lead by un understanding companies- were doing terrible.
Thanks for this @lukestevens. I haven’t even heard of AMP until I saw @nburdy retweet this. Interesting read!
Trouble is that pretty much nobody has the skills to make fast, clean pages. Wondering what Google's current efforts to speed up WordPress will turn out to be.
Worse is that the AMP cache and AMP URLs are explicitly breaking the web and rather than admit this they keep trying to add new hacks to get round it. We already have a way to get alternative versions of a resource it's called content negotiation
If Google were to drop the cache and just push the standard as faster and more mobile friendly users could hit a toggle in their browser and requests would give text/html-amp a higher priority and everyone wins