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Google will remove its name from fast-loading mobile URLs

Instead of the usual AMP prefix, the URL will look as the publisher intended.
Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
January 9, 2018
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Google's fast-loading, data-saving AMP sites help you mainline morning news on the train to work, but they come with an undesirable side effect. As you will've noticed, the URL for an AMP site looks something like this: google.com/amp/www.engadget.com... As Google explains, it starts loading the page before you've even decided whether to click or not. For that and privacy reasons, Google has to be the middle man, though it has figured out how to nix that URL prefix in its mobile Search apps. In the latter half of 2018, though, Google has said it expects to be able to remove the AMP signature from URLs in Chrome and other smartphone browsers, too.

There are a few reasons why Google would want to cut its dust jacket out of the equation. Firstly, publishers will get their rightful place at the front of the URL. But for users, it means no more irksome editing before posting an interesting link to social media, or sharing in other ways. And when you prod at a shared link, you'll have more confidence it hasn't been mislabeled if all you see is the AMP prefix. By the time the change is implemented, AMP pages might have a friendlier moniker, such as 'Instant.' More importantly, though, you'll know you're getting the full website experience and not a clickbait version with content stripped out -- a practice some publishers have annoyed Google with.

If you're interested in the nitty gritty, Google is working on a new version of the AMP cache based on "the emerging Web Packaging standard." According to the search giant, it'll offer the same level of privacy and performance as the current cache without tinkering with the URL. Google expects other browsers to adopt the standard as it has other uses, such as enabling offline pages. There is much work still to be done, like implementing the standard in the WebKit engine, but it's hoped that mobile newsguzzlers will start seeing fast-loading pages without Google sitting at the front of the URL at some point in the second half of this year.

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