Due to the growing prevalence of ad blocking software, big tech companies such as Facebook and Apple are trying to get publishers to use their proprietary publishing tools, like Instant Articles and Apple News, which don't allow ad blocking software. Because media organizations need the ad revenue to survive, they'll have to play ball (which is all news we have covered before). This puts Google in a tough position, because Google does allow ad blocking software, and must find new ways to entice publishers.
So it is not entirely unexpected news, via Lauren Johnson in AdWeek, that Google is hoping to please publishers on the mobile web through sheer speed. According to Johnson's article, "Google Is Making the Mobile Web Faster for Publishers and Their Readers," on Wednesday Google began a new program called Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP. It works as a piece of code plugged into a publisher's website, and, according to Google, can increase load speeds by between 15 and 85 percent.
According to Johnson, AMP works like this: "A reader discovers content via Google's mobile properties before clicking through to the publisher's site, where the quick loading occurs. If the same reader goes directly to the publisher's website for the same piece of content, the load time will be slower."
Initial partners for the AMP include some pretty names: BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, and Vox Media, among others. More will be added as the program is rolled out. Publishers themselves are still expected to do their own monetization, so, if you use an ad blocker, you'll still see those little guilt-inducing messages asking you to add their site to your whitelist.
Google stated that the use of AMP by publishers will not effect search rankings, while still noting that website speed and response time in general can have an effect on where a news article appears in search results. The AMP is an open-code project and will be available to any publisher that wants it, and, unlike Apple and Facebook's publishing programs, does not involve deals or partnerships with media or publishing companies.
Google is, however, partnering with Twitter on Accelerated Mobile Pages, so that clicking an article linked in a tweet will get it to load with the same increased speed as it would from a click on a Google search result.
It says something about the general philosophies of these giant companies that Google's method of attacking the problem is through innovation, improvement, and partnership, while Apple and Facebook seem to be focused on proprietary leverage in the industry. C'est la vie.