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Google gives speedier AMP-powered web pages a top spot in Google News

TechCrunch TechCrunch 20/04/2016 Sarah Perez

Google announced today it’s giving higher placement to articles in Google News that come from those publishers who have embraced the Google-backed “Accelerated Mobile Pages Project” (or, AMP). The company debuted this open source initiative last year, as something of a rival to Facebook’s Instant Articles. The project’s overall goal is to speed up web browsing on mobile devices by offering an open framework called AMP HTML, based on existing web technologies, that allows for more lightweight and speedier mobile web pages.

AMP-powered pages will load instantaneously, even when they contain rich media like video, animations or graphics, including things like Twitter and YouTube embeds.

Since the launch of the initiative, AMP has been embraced by a large group of news publishers, ad partners, platforms like WordPress, analytics firms and tool makers. In February, it integrated AMP pages into Google’s search results, by displaying a carousel highlighting stories on AMP-enabled websites.

Today, Google says it’s doing the same thing on Google News. A carousel promoting AMP-powered articles will now sit at the top of Google News.

On the web, iOS and Android, this AMP carousel in Google News will display the most important headlines of the day. The section will include up to 14 headlines that can be moved through quickly, thanks to the fast-loading AMP articles.

The carousel will also let web users swipe to continue reading other stories from the carousel.

And as with the integration into Google Search, the AMP articles will be flagged with a little lightning bolt icon next to the word “AMP.” That way, people will know which stories can be read more quickly – a move that will likely increase clicks on mobile, and push publishers who have yet to adopt AMP to reconsider that decision – especially given the potential traffic that arrives from a top Google News placement.

As the company explains via a blog post, “people will read more and click on more stories when they know they will load fast, driving more traffic to a publisher’s site.” AMP, Google claims, can load documents an average of four times faster and use 10 times less data than their non-AMP’d counterparts.

The new AMP-focused version of Google News is rolling out now with the English U.S. edition, but Google says more languages and additions will arrive soon.

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