When I first wrote about Accelerated Mobile Pages, there wasn’t a true implementation. Now we see how Google is rolling this out, and it has problems. John Gruber uses Ars Technica as an example:
On desktop browsers, these URLs do get redirected to Ars’s website. But on mobile they don’t. Share from one mobile device to another and nobody ever leaves google.com. Why would any website turn their entire mobile audience — a majority share of their total audience, for many sites today — over to Google?
I’d prefer if Google added AMP support directly to Chrome. While it would be a much more limited rollout, it would feel more natural, with fewer drawbacks for publishers.
Competing news platform Apple News isn’t problem-free either. The
apple.news:// shared links also add a redirect, with inconsistent behavior since not all platforms and countries even support Apple News. Apple News is an RSS reader that’s designed like a closed platform.
I want the web to be faster. Breaking links should not be part of the solution.
I was looking for a different old post in my archives, and stumbled on this one: “I hope iAd fails”, which I wrote 5 years ago this month. One of my points was that we had a healthy marketplace in the App Store for normal people to actually pay for apps:
“Do we really want to give that marketplace up? Because once it’s gone, and iAds are the norm, it will be an uphill battle to get anyone to pay for anything.”
Fast-forward 5 years to today, and well, we’re on that hill right now. Except there’s a landslide and I don’t know who’s going to get buried.
On the Upgrade podcast, Jason Snell and Myke Hurley talked about whether iOS 9’s Apple News was relevant: what problems is it solving, if any, and — because it will feature unblockable ads powered by iAd — how does it fit into the larger issue of blocking web ads and closed platforms? The discussion starts about an hour in.
(If you’ve used Apple News already, you may not have even seen any ads yet. But Apple’s page on Apple News Format makes it clear that they will be encouraging iAd for publishers: “Monetization is made simple with iAd”.)
I stand by the opinion that iAd is a mistaken strategy. Apple, if you’re serious about this fight with Google, go all-in on the fight and abandon iAd. It seems hypocritical to attack web ads while rolling out your own news platform with ads that can’t be blocked.