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The Problem With AMP

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Kyle Schreiber:

The largest complaint by far is that the URLs for AMP links differ from the canonical URLs for the same content, making sharing difficult. The current URLs are a mess. They all begin with some form of https://wwww.google.com/amp/ before showing a URL to the AMP version of the site. There is currently no way to find the canonical link to the page without guessing what the original URL is. This usually involves removing either a .amp or ?amp=1 from the URL to get to the actual page.

Make no mistake. AMP is about lock-in for Google. AMP is meant to keep publishers tied to Google. Clicking on an AMP link feels like you never even leave the search page, and links to AMP content are displayed prominently in Google’s news carousel. This is their response to similar formats from both Facebook and Apple, both of which are designed to keep users within their respective ecosystems. However, Google’s implementation of AMP is more broad and far reaching than the Apple and Facebook equivalents. Google’s implementation of AMP is on the open web and isn’t limited to just an app like Facebook or Apple.

Back in October I asked why websites are publishing AMP pages. The lock-in aspect makes no sense to me. Why would I want to cede control over my pages to Google? AMP pages do load fast, but if publishers want their web pages to load fast, they can just engineer them to load fast. Best answers I got were that it wasn’t really strategic — publishers are going with AMP just because their SEO people are telling them to, because Google features AMP pages in search results. I suppose that is a strategy, but ceding control over your content to Google isn’t a good one in the long term.

As Schreiber points out, with things like Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News, the canonical URL for each story remains on the publisher’s own website. With AMP, from the perspective of typical users, the canonical URL is on google.com.

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3 public comments
DaftDoki
1 day ago
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AMP is one of the most evil things Google has done in a while. It annoyingly breaks browser forward/back navigation, and on mobile there is a stupid header, that you can't remove, which takes up precious screen real estate. The fact that they're punishing publishers who don't want to support AMP by lowering their search relevancy on mobile should be an anti-trust issue.

Duck, Duck, Go!
Seattle
hooges
1 day ago
I must be in the rare class that loves AMP pages and will always click them first.
fxer
1 day ago
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"from the perspective of typical users, the canonical URL is on google.com"

From the perspective of typical users they don't know/care what a canonical URL is
Bend, Oregon
sirshannon
1 day ago
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I do not click AMP links.

The Pipe Dream of Ara

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How far out in the weeds was Google’s modular “Project Ara” phone concept before they finally pulled the plug on it? This far out, according to Harrison Weber’s report for VentureBeat:

Imagine the modules developers might dream up. There were the obvious ideas, like specialized cameras and high-end speakers. But modules could get stranger, wilder, too. One module idea, in particular, frequently derailed meetings inside ATAP’s walls, as studio leaders strained to picture a module gold rush akin to Apple’s App Store.

“One of the modules that we were working on was basically like a tiny aquarium for your phone,” said the source. “It was a little tiny biome that would go inside of a module and it would have a microscope on the bottom part, and it would have live tardigrades and algae — some people call them water bears. They are the tiniest living organism. We had this idea to build a tardigrade module and we’d build a microscope with it. So you’d have this app on your phone and you could essentially look at the tardigrades up close and watch them floating around.” Brooklyn-based art, design, and technology agency Midnight Commercial conceived the idea, and was commissioned by Google to build it, demonstrating the depth of what developers could create.

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sirshannon
1 day ago
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W.O.W.

45th And Final

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If I were still on social media, it would amuse me this week to attempt to popularise the phrase “the 45th and final President of the United States.”

Let me be clear: this is because I am a shitty human being who is amused by terrible things.  But it’s less offensive than that Weimar shit currently being perpetrated by people who love CABARET but don’t remember how that story ended.

It’s a week to consider the late Mark Fisher’s version of capitalist realism:  that we’re so deeply incarcerated within our current societal reality that we don’t have space to consider any alternatives, and therefore keep trying to work within and fix the same busted systems, instead of building out new ones.

Imagine if you were an American, watching the inauguration and thinking, 45th and final.  That’d be a guide to thinking outside your model pretty damn fast.

Meanwhile, my own country is busy trying to dial time back to approximately 1970.  Which, as I mentioned to a friend today, is the timeframe I’m most reminded of when I watch the film CHILDREN OF MEN. That’s pretty much how I remember London looking.

Another friend texted me this morning to tell me she planned to learn how to farm.

 

My Kindle Single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR is now available worldwide (UK)  (US) for less than that bottle of bleach you’ve been thinking about buying and drinking.

 

 

 

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ithelpstodream: Here’s a MLK quote I’d love to see white people...

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ithelpstodream:

Here’s a MLK quote I’d love to see white people share.

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Everything Is Fine

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jillstein

Apparently, Jill Stein is more politically savvy that I thought. The Trump presidency she wanted happened, and it’s immediately taking on BIG VAXX:

President-elect Donald Trump asked Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist and skeptic of vaccines, to chair a presidential commission on vaccine safety, Kennedy said Tuesday.

The comments came after Trump and Kennedy met Tuesday in New York. The two have questioned whether vaccines cause autism, a claim consistently debunked by medical professionals across the board.

In March 2014 — before he became a presidential candidate — Trump said on Twitter: “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!”

I think Surgeon General McCarthy will do a bang-up job.

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In Support of (Micro)Blogging

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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Manton Reece’s vision and passion for the future of blogging and of the open web. I’ve backed his Indie Microblogging book on Kickstarter and am really looking forward to his Micro.blog service, which he has described as “a step forward” in the direction of a more de-centralized, open web.

It’s caused me to reflect on what attracts me to Twitter and what aspects of that could be replaced by Micro.blog if a significant portion of the Apple community began using it.

When I open Twitter, my favorite things to see are:

  1. Links to thoughtful blog posts, articles and podcasts
  2. General commentary on any of the above
  3. Dog pictures and photos from the people I follow
  4. Jokes, memes, banter

I’m old enough to remember when people left the commenting feature turned on for their personal blogs. Then, when everyone became fed up with the toxicity of comment sections and the ridiculous abundance of spam, bloggers started inviting readers to contact them on Twitter (which is, arguably, only slightly less toxic). Manton hopes to successfully combat harassment on his platform, and I have faith in his ability to do so.

I can easily see myself using Micro.blog to read the thoughts, ideas and commentary from my friends and people I admire. For pictures? Most of my favorite people are on Instagram. So where does that leave Twitter?

There are a few things that Twitter really excels at, such as:

  1. Live event commentary
  2. Breaking news (even just local stuff like school closures)
  3. Jokes, memes, banter
  4. Having a huge subset of celebrities, athletes, public figures, TV writers, etc. actively using the service

I find Twitter particularly useful for the first three items (I’m not big on celebrity culture), so I’d probably keep it around.

Microblogging isn’t new. One only need look to the thriving Tumblr community to see that short form blogging is a proven concept. On Tumblr, users don’t just create their own posts; they reblog the creations of others, often providing their own commentary in the tags section (seriously, Tumblr tags are usually stream-of-consciousness sentence fragments). By doing this, users curate a selection of content that speaks to who they are and what they like. This is, in a way, similar to the “link post” format that Daring Fireball uses as well as myself and many other bloggers.

Where am I going with this? I can see kids who have grown up posting anonymously on Tumblr and ephemerally on Snapchat moving on to something like Micro.blog when they’re ready to have a public presence on the web and take serious ownership of their writing. 

I imagine Micro.blog as a vehicle for civilized, thoughtful discussion. Whether it turns out to be so is yet to be seen, but my hopes remain high that Manton will indeed rescue us from the centralized, ever-burning dumpster fires that hold captive our ideas. (Long live RSS!)

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