Google to Boost Mobile Web Speed on Apple Devices

May 27, 2016, 8:18 PM UTC
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Google’s big plan to speed up mobile websites is picking up on Apple mobile devices.

The Google iOS app for devices like the iPhone and iPad now supports the search giant’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project, created to increase the loading times of news articles on the Internet.

Now when users search for news from their Apple (AAPL) devices using the Google (GOOG) app, they should see streamlined news articles from media companies like The Washington Post that chose to participate in Google’s web project.

The AMP project is a Google-led initiative to standardize the software code behind each news article on the mobile web. AMP was designed to remove years of accumulated software code that has built up on online publishers’ websites.

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This extraneous code, which often comes from tracking cookies or other software features publishers have added over the years, can cause news articles to load at a snail’s pace.

As of Friday, iOS users should see a lightning bolt graphic and the letters “AMP” next to news articles from participating publishers in the “Top Stories” section of their search results in the Google app.

Because Google’s search engine rewards online publishers whose websites are fast with higher search rankings, there’s a possibility that publishers who choose not to implement Google’s AMP project could see their own websites fall down the rankings.

In December, Google executives explained at a press event that website speed is just one of many factors Google uses to determine its search rankings.

“The way we think about it is, speed is one of those critical ranking factors, not the only one that you need, and AMP says to us, basically, ‘I’m consistently fast,’” said Google product manager Rudy Galfi at the time.

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Last week at Google’s annual developer conference, the search giant detailed more of its AMP project as well as its sister-initiative known as the Progressive Web App (PWA). Whereas AMP only cleans up the code of news articles, the PWA takes it a step further and streamlines the code of an entire website. It also while make it easier for mobile websites to have app-like features like notifications and online payment services.

Both Apple and Facebook also have their own projects to make it easier to read news articles on mobile devices. The iPhone maker has its Apple News app, while the social network has its Instant Articles program in which news articles can load more quickly within the Facebook app.