The move comes in the wake of a backlash from irate publishers who accused Google of taking their traffic by substituting URL’s for its own domain, a claim Google refutes by pointing out that traffic remains the publishers despite the AMP URL appearing in search results.
These reassurances failed to assuage many however following an investigation by Search Engine Land which found such links operated as temporary redirects rather than permanent referrals. These issues combined with a more general confusion over which link to share and whether bookmarked URL’s would continue to operate in future appear to have forced Google’s hand.
In a blog post detailing their change of heart Google wrote: “URLs and origins represent, to some extent, trust and ownership of content. When you’re reading a New York Times article, a quick glimpse at the URL gives you a level of trust that what you’re reading represents the voice of the New York Times. Attribution, brand, and ownership are clear.”
Google AMP has been designed to optimize mobile web browsing by presenting streamlined versions of publisher’s own websites which had been shorn of all extraneous scripts, codes and extensions which can impede access.
Google AMP began life in news delivery but has since branched out beyond media to sites such as eBay, Rakuten and Fandango.