Thursday, 24 August 2017 10:27

Safari to strip out AMP links for shared stories in iOS 11

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Apple's next update to iOS, version 11, will see the Safari browser stripping out Google's accelerated mobile page links from an URL when a story is shared.

The change was spotted by MacStories editor Federico Viticci in beta 7 of iOS 11.

Google introduced its accelerated mobile pages last October and they spread to all sections of its search results.

Publishers are disadvantaged by AMP links because the user never gets to see the original URL and rarely goes back to the original site.

While Apple and Facebook do something similar, this extends only to their respective news apps. In Google's case it extends to the entire Web.

Apple enthusiast John Gruber quoted developer Kyle Schreiber on this: "The largest complaint by far is that the URLs for AMP links differ from the canonical URLs for the same content, making sharing difficult. 

"The current URLs are a mess. They all begin with some form of https://www.google.com/amp/ before showing a URL to the AMP version of the site. 

"There is currently no way to find the canonical link to the page without guessing what the original URL is. This usually involves removing either a .amp or ?amp=1 from the URL to get to the actual page."

In February, Google added a method of linking to the original URL by clicking on a small link icon at the top of each AMP story. This means an additional click.

Schreiber added: "Make no mistake. AMP is about lock-in for Google. AMP is meant to keep publishers tied to Google. Clicking on an AMP link feels like you never even leave the search page, and links to AMP content are displayed prominently in Google’s news carousel. 

"This is their response to similar formats from both Facebook and Apple, both of which are designed to keep users within their respective ecosystems. 

"However, Google’s implementation of AMP is more broad and far reaching than the Apple and Facebook equivalents. Google’s implementation of AMP is on the open web and isn’t limited to just an app like Facebook or Apple."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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