Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to try and speed up the browsing experience for mobile users. One of the most common complaints from mobile users while browsing the web has been slow loading times on web pages. You have likely experienced this yourself… You do a Google search, tap the result you want, and the page begins loading. First, the content pops up. You start scrolling a bit, then some images pop in and you lose where you were. You scroll back to the top and start reading again. Then, a couple ads load somewhere on the page and throw you off again. Needless to say, this is not an ideal browsing experience for anyone involved. AMP links were meant to solve those issues but there were some concerns about AMP link URL’s. Now, AMP links in Safari are getting a bit of an overhaul for iOS 11 users to address those concerns.
The main concern regarding AMP links was that the original URL would be altered. This wasn’t a big deal for the person browsing the page originally but it made sharing links difficult as the person receiving the link would see the AMP format and may not understand which site they were about to view. Anyone who is practicing good browsing habits won’t click on a link they don’t recognize. Safari in iOS has found a solution to change this.
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Now, when AMP links in Safari are clicked, the URL is reverted back to the original. Users can enjoy the browsing benefits of AMP links while also enjoying the familiarity of trusted websites and publishers. Google must be choked about this, right? After all, Apple is altering their AMP links which are meant to make the ad delivery experience better.
Actually, Google is happy about how Apple is handling AMP links in Safari. In fact, Google went ahead and asked browsers to start doing this. Hacker News has this comment from Malte Ubl, technical lead with AMP:
Just wanted to clarify that we specifically requested Apple (and other browser vendors) to do this. AMP’s policy states that platforms should share the canonical URL of an article whenever technically possible. This browser change makes it technically possible in Safari. We cannot wait for other vendors to implement.
So, according to that comment, Google actually wants mobile browsers to revert the AMP link back to the original. The AMP project is open source so it’s not like Google was keeping their code hidden away from scrutiny. They want to improve the browsing experience for mobile users on all platforms. Of course, it’s not like this is an entirely benevolent effort from Google. The whole reason for AMP links is to serve up ads in a way that doesn’t ruin the browsing experience and make people hate advertisements. Google is, mainly, an advertising company. Making the advertising and browsing experience smoother is to their benefit.
If you want to check out some AMP links in Safari and test them for yourself then you will need to be running the latest update of iOS 11. If you’re not in the iOS 11 beta program, it’s easy to get your device registered. We have a guide for you to view. Of course, if you’re not interested in joining the iOS 11 beta then you will have to wait for the full public release which should be coming soon. Until then, for you, AMP links in Safari will not change.
It’s nice to see Apple working on small improvements to make browsing better for users. If Google is to be taken at their word then this change is also very welcome to them as well. If everyone else is happy then I’m happy too! Enjoy your browsing!