Cloudflare, a startup offering a content distribution network (CDN) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation services for websites, today announced that its customers can now choose to implement a technology called Accelerated Mobile Links on their websites, free of charge. The feature lets people quickly view links to fast-loading Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) from mobile sites and then quickly bounce back to the original mobile sites.
This is a fascinating non-Google implementation of the AMP technology that Google introduced in 2015. Google drives people to AMPs from Google Search on mobile devices, among other services. Many media outlets and other companies that operate websites, like eBay, have started making their sites compatible with AMP so that they show up quickly on mobile and consume less data. Cloudflare has gone further — when people click one of these Accelerated Mobile Links (as indicated by the signature lightning bolt icon in a circle), a viewer pops up to display the AMP page, and after reading it, people can hit the little X in the top left corner to return to where they were.
But not only that.
“For large publishers that want an even more branded experience, Cloudflare will offer the ability to customize the domain of the viewer to match the publisher’s domain. This, for the first time, provides a seamless experience where AMP content can be consumed without having to send visitors to a Google owned domain,” Cloudflare cofounder and CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post.
This could very well fix one of the occasional gripes with AMP — that the URL can look to some like a Google URL, as opposed to, say, a news organization’s website.
Cloudflare now “powers the only compliant non-Google AMP cache,” Prince wrote — and the company will come out with more AMP features in the future, he added.
Facebook offers fast-loading Instant Articles in its apps, but the underlying software is proprietary, unlike AMP.