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NY Times embraces Google's AMP to better optimize mobile Web content

The New York Times is one of the publishers that has quickly adopted Google?s new Accelerated Mobile Pages Project in the early stages as the publication attempts to gain more control over readers' experiences following a period of significant upheaval caused by growing smartphone use. 

Since the immersion of mobile devices, it has become a publishing norm for consumers to interact with content from various platforms and sources steps away from the original publisher. The adoption of mobile web viewing is mainstream, the experience has not yet been streamlined and can still be clunky and slow, which is what Google is hoping to eliminate with its AMP and the NY Times believes will help serve its content to interested consumers in a more optimized format. 

"While the ultimate impact of the effort is unknown at this time, we felt it was important enough to be involved in the early stages both as a publisher and a technology partner," said Kate Harris, director, mobile product, The New York Times. "This preview period has allowed us to influence the specifications of the AMP format, and that?s been more about making sure our content looks great and Google has been updating the spec to accommodate. 

"As we look to maintain speed as a priority in mobile, we see working with Google as a great opportunity to explore new strategies with regards to content caching," she said. "By participating in the Preview we will have a better understanding of how the new format performs outside of our test environments.  

"For the industry, if widely embraced, there will be improvement in page load times for publishers who do not have the ability to provide an optimal experience for their users, so AMP may provide an opportunity to broadly improve the user experience on the mobile Web. This is particularly important for smaller publishers in local markets where independent journalism is most threatened."

Previewing platforms

There has been an outcry for a more streamlined experience in accessing publishers? content on mobile from both content providers and consumers. Seeing as mobile is the primary platform in which consumers engage with media content, this has become a problem and Google is teaming up with partners to correct this issue. 

The NY Times is sharing its already published content in the preview version of AMP. Its already established partnerships with advertisers will still be in effect, but as of now the publisher is not planning on developing a separate ad platform. 

Google has stated that this is not an effort to create a more uniformed publishing interface in which all content looks the same, but more of a backend protocol in which HTML will be written in a format that operates faster and better for consumers. 

Up with the Times
The Times also recently launched an advertising solution for mobile that leverages user data to serve targeted content at relevant times and places throughout the day (see more). 

The publisher also crafted one-sentence stories specifically for Apple Watch users that extended the newsgathering organization?s efforts to cater to individual consumers, a growing priority for mobile marketers in the publishing industry (see more). 

?Innovations like the search carousel may help NYTimes readers connect with desired content more easily,? Ms. Harris said. ?Because AMP is a mobile Web page, it is a lightweight Web page built out of existing Web technologies with best practices, the major benefit for our users is Google is pre caching the AMP runtime for everyone that is using Google search, so when they tap on one of our articles, it loads instantaneously because it is pre-cached.?