Official Launch Date for Google AMP Confirmed

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages Is Launching Feb. 24, Ad Age Has Learned

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Google will be introducing its Accelerated Mobile Page initiative on Feb. 24, several sources familiar with AMP confirmed to Ad Age.

AMP is a direct response to similar but proprietary platforms like Facebook's Instant Articles and Apple's News. Unlike them, however, AMP is open source, meaning anyone can use it.

Google says AMP pages load 85% faster than standard mobile web pages. The company wants to reinvent the mobile web by delivering content at near instant speeds.

Publishers, meanwhile, have been eagerly awaiting their chance to test AMP's efficacy in encouraging readership on mobile devices. The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed and the Washington Post are among those who will have AMP sites ready next week.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the date of AMP's roll-out.

While AMP pages load much faster, many revenue streams for publishers won't be available. Interstitial ads and site takeovers aren't allowed. Elements that are script-based, widgets that suggest other reading and video that visitors have to watch before they get to the content they're seeking are also off the table.

Still, delivering content at blazing fast speeds may be a necessary measure for publishers -- and Google -- to keep consumers on the mobile web. Consumers currently spend far more time with apps than the mobile web.

Google began reaching out to publishers nearly 10 months ago and publicly introduced the concept of AMP back in October. Google will begin displaying AMP sites in its search results next week. Although the search titan said it won't favor AMP in particular among the search results it displays, it has long favored faster sites over slower ones when other things are equal.

"Clearly, AMP takes speed to a point of extreme," Richard Gingras, senior director, news and social products at Google, previously told Ad Age. "So, obviously we look to leverage that. Again, it is only one signal. AMP doesn't mean adopt AMP and get a massive boost in search ranking. That is not the case. All of the other signals need to be satisfied as well. But without question speed matters. If we had two articles that from a signaling perspective scored the same in all other characteristics but for speed, then yes we will give an emphasis to the one with speed because that is what users find compelling."

Facebook said Wednesday that it will expand access to its Instant Articles to all publishers on April 12, expanding on the group of several hundred that have been testing it so far.

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