Google announces solution to improve AMP cache URLs

In 2018, the Google AMP cache will begin displaying original domain URLs instead of the ‘google.com/amp’ URL prefix in the search results

The search giant announced that it’s making changes to the way Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are displayed on search results, enabling ecommerce and publisher websites to deliver their own URLs – instead of Google URLs – directly from the AMP cache.

“You don’t like google.com/amp URLs? Neither do we,” said Malte Ubl, tech lead for the AMP Project in a post announcing the major shift.

What does this mean moving forward?

Slated to be complete by the second half of 2018, this engineering advancement will maintain both the unprecedented load speeds of pre-cached, pre-rendered mobile pages, as well as the attribution, branding and ownership associated with the origin URL.

“We embarked on a multi-month long effort, and today we finally feel confident that we found a solution: As recommended by the W3C TAG, we intend to implement a new version of AMP Cache serving based on the emerging Web Packaging standard. Based on this web standard AMP navigations from Google Search can take advantage of privacy-preserving preloading and the performance of Google’s servers, while URLs remain as the publisher intended and the primary security context of the web, the origin, remains intact. We have built a prototype based on the Chrome Browser and an experimental version of Google Search to make sure it actually does deliver on both the desired UX and performance in real use cases. This step gives us confidence that we have a promising solution to this hard problem and that it will soon become the way that users will encounter AMP content on the web.”

For privacy and performance reasons, any AMP page appearing in Google search results needs to be served from the Google Cache. Using a Google URL, rather than the publisher’s URL, has been a technical requirement for all AMP pages in the Google Cache. That technical requirement will change with the introduction of Web Packaging, allowing AMP pages to be served from publisher URLs from within the Google Cache.

This is a major step for the AMP initiative, and an upgrade that will address:

  • Analytics challenges, such as session stitching and tracking multiple URLs;
  • Protection of a website’s brand at the onset of discovery on acquisition channels; and
  • Deliver a totally seamless experience from AMP-enabled landing pages into the canonical mobile site

With more than 5 million AMP pages – serviced every day – we’re excited about this news. It’s a signal of the staying power of the AMP Project – an open-source initiative that’s constantly improving – and the importance of fast, elegant mobile-web experience.

This news should encourage retailers, publishers and enterprise businesses confronted with slow, poor performing mobile websites, to seriously consider embracing Accelerated Mobile Pages. With these improvements, websites can have it all. The URL change allows for attribution, branding and ownership of the content, while still having the instantaneous loading provided by the Google Cache. Today, nothing loads faster than AMP pages and, later this year, AMP will deliver your brand experience more fully than ever before.

WompMobile will continue to track this development in future posts, as this new web standard is rolled out across all major browsers and begins to reach users in 2018.