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‘Some Cheers, A Few Sneers For Google’s URL Solution For AMP’

The Verge explains what all the commotion is about:
AMP stands for “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” and you’ve probably noticed that those pages load super quickly and usually look much simpler than regular webpages. You may have also noticed that the URL at the top of your browser started with “www.google.com/somethingorother” instead of with the webpage you thought you were visiting. Google is trying to fix that by announcing support for something called “Signed Exchanges.” What it should mean is that when you click on one of those links, your URL will be the original, correct URL for the story. Cloudflare is joining Google in supporting the standard for customers who use its services.

In order for this thing to work, every step in the chain of technologies involved in loading the AMP format has to support Signed Exchanges, including your browser, the search engine, and the website that published the link. Right now, that means the URL will be fixed only when a Chrome browser loads a Google search link to a published article that has implemented support.

Mozilla’a official position on signed exchanges is they’re “harmful,” arguing in a 51-page position paper that there’s both security and privacy considerations. Pierre Far, a former Google employee, posted on Twitter that the change “breaks many assumptions about how the web works,” and that in addition, “Google is acting too quickly. Other browsers and internet stakeholders have well-founded concerns, and the correct mechanism to address them is the standardization process. Google skipped all that. Naughty.” Jeffrey Yaskin, from Chrome’s web platform team, even acknowledged that criticism with a tweet of his own. “I think it’s fair to say we’re pushing it. The question is our motives, which I claim is to improve the web rather than to ‘all your base’ it, but I would say that either way.”

Search Engine Land cited both tweets, and shared some concerns of their own. “The compromise we have to consider before getting on board with Signed HTTP Exchanges is whether we’re willing to allow a third party to serve up our content without users being able to tell the difference.

“If we, as digital marketers, want to influence the conventions of our future work environment, we’ll have to decide if the gains are enough to disrupt long-standing assumptions of how websites are delivered. If so, we’ll also have to cede the ability to judge user intent over to Google and swallow the fact that it skipped over the standardization process to implement a process that one of its own created.”

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