The Google-led accelerated mobile pages (AMP) project has come a long way since the internet giant first announced the initiative three years back. The AMP framework is now used by 1.5 billion pages across tens of millions of domains to enable fast and efficient mobile web pages, while AMP rolled out earlier this year for emails too.
Though Google has always pushed to position AMP as an open source project for anyone to use — big companies such as eBay have long adopted it to speed up their mobile website — Google has struggled somewhat to convey the message that AMP isn’t purely to help Google. Indeed, AMP has been criticized for being the antitheses of an open web, given that Google hosts the AMP cache and it can garner analytics from any website that uses AMP.
Moreover, in many people’s eyes, Google basically strong-armed publishers into adopting the AMP format, else their mobile websites would not rank highly on Google Search. And, ultimately, AMP pages are better placed to serve Google ads.
‘Open’ for business
Against that backdrop, Google recently proposed a new “open governance” model for the AMP project, promising to give a “voice to all constituents of the community, including those who cannot contribute code themselves, such as end-user,” according to Google’s AMP project lead Malte Ubl, who has hitherto had the final say on all things AMP.
Fast-forward two months, and Ubl has now unveiled its model, which constitutes an advisory committee (AC) and a technical steering committee (TCS) represented by a number of technology and media companies.
“We have endeavored to ensure that these committees consist of people who bring a wide variety of perspectives, with representatives from different AMP constituencies,” Ubl said in a blog post.
Microsoft has gradually been expanding support for AMP pages within its own Bing search engine, while Twitter has embraced AMP from the start — so it perhaps comes as little surprise that both Microsoft and Twitter have won two coveted places on the TCS, alongside Pinterest, Pantheon, and — drum roll — Google.
The full technical steering committee consists of:
- Dima Voytenko: Google
- Malte Ubl: Google
- Rudy Galfi: Google
- Paul Armstrong: Twitter
- Saulo Santos: Microsoft
- Chris Papazian: Pinterest
- David Strauss: Pantheon
In terms of the advisory committee, 16 different organizations are represented (including Google):
- Nicole Sullivan: Google
- Charles Vazac: Akamai
- Dane Knecht: Cloudflare
- Dave Merrell: The Washington Post
- Elisa Budelli: Automattic
- Guilherme Souza: Terra
- Joe Alicata: Vox Media
- Léonie Watson: The Paciello Group
- Levi Durfee: Bulldog Creative Services
- Pablo Delgado: El País
- Senthil Padmanabhan: eBay
- Sumantro Das: 1-800-Flowers.com
- Terence Eden: U.K. Government Digital Service
- Tim Jones: The New York Times
- Tobie Langel: CodeSpeaks
- Yinhuang Lu: AliExpress
Additionally, Ubl noted that the TSC will be choosing separate working groups in the coming weeks, which will be more involved in the “day-to-day” activities around AMP.
Google is clearly working hard to disavow notions that AMP is nothing more than a backdoor for it to control the web. But many will still argue that it makes little difference how many different groups and organizations have a say in AMP, if Google is still running the show from a technical standpoint to benefit its own revenue stream.
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