Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, Faster Web or an Unnecessary Development?

Google announced some ambitious plans to help make content consumption on mobile networks easier by developing a new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

While I agree that at times accessing content over mobile data plans can get slow, and pricey, why we need to completely revamp how content is published by introducing new standards is something I’m not too comfortable with.

Publish Once, Work Twice?

The project states:

…that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.

Yes, that is if they choose to completely shift over to using the very limited scope offered in AMP. With JavaScript not an option, CSS files under 50KB and even removing a lot of native HTML tags like embed, object etc…which are prohibited it doesn’t look like there’s much on offer.

Other tags like img, audio, video, iframe are replaced with native AMP tags like amp-img etc…

So where does this leave the developer who already has to deal with retina displays, responsive development, screen sizes, browser incompatibilities along with everything else that web development today has morphed into?

While their intentions might be good they’re also trying to push a new set of standards that are out of the scope of the W3 consortium.

We’ve gone through days where websites were “Best viewed in Internet Explorer 6” to today where almost all browsers share the same set of standards. I said almost. The next thing we need is for our websites to conform to yet another set of standards, created by a publicly traded company.

The open source tag is a nice touch but I don’t see this becoming something that users will latch on to for the long run.

My suggestion would be for the people behind the project to implement these standards into a browser for mobile platforms. That way if a developer wants to promote their content via that browser they can choose to support it in their development cycle.

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