Brave Browser now bypasses Google AMP pages
Brave aims to rid AMP of its web browser with a new feature called De-AMP, which ensures that users visit a publisher’s URLs instead of Google’s.
De-AMP will be enabled by default in version 1.38 of Brave’s desktop and Android browsers, with plans to bring it to iOS soon after.
The team behind Brave believes users would be better off without AMP, saying it compromises their privacy and leads to a worse experience.
Brave states in an announcement:
“AMP harms users’ privacy, security, and Internet experience, and just as badly, AMP helps Google monopolize and further control the direction of the web.”
De-AMP will “protect” users by stopping AMPHTML from running and sending visitors directly to the publisher’s web pages.
In a blog post, Brave expands on their claims that AMP is harmful and explains how De-AMP makes web browsing safer.
How Brave’s De-AMP Feature Works
Brave’s new feature will neutralize AMP in two main ways:
- Rewriting links and URLs to prevent users from visiting AMP pages.
- Redirect users away from AMP pages before the page is rendered, preventing code execution.
De-AMP will target offending URLs at the source by modifying retrieved pages that frequently link to AMP pages, such as Google search results.
These types of pages will be modified in the browser so that all AMP links will be rewritten with publisher URLs.
Additionally, Brave will look for AMP HTML markup when loading pages and load the publisher URL version if AMP markup is detected.
A future update will expand Brave’s existing debounce feature to detect when AMP URLs are about to be visited and access the publisher’s page version instead.
Why AMP is harmful (according to Brave)
Brave’s arguments that AMP is harmful to users are as follows:
- Privacy: AMP allows Google to see which pages people visit on the web and how the pages interact.
- Security: users think they are interacting with the publisher’s site while they are still under Google’s control.
- Monopolization: With AMP serving web content from Google’s servers, Brave claims it reinforces Google’s monopoly on the web.
- Usability: Brave claims that AMP can actually make pages slower and harder to interact with.
Too little, too late?
It’s worth noting that Brave goes to such lengths to thwart AMP pages, but one can’t help but question the timing.
The prevalence of AMP has decreased in recent years thanks to efforts by Google itself.
For example, Google News now directs users directly to publisher websites instead of AMP pages.
The Top Stories carousel in search results, which was previously AMP-only, now contains standard HTML pages.
Google even stopped highlighting AMP pages in search results with the special lightning bolt icon.
In other words, users are less likely to land on an AMP page now than in previous years, which makes it feel like an untimely update.
If nothing else, it’s one more nail in the coffin for a page technology that seems to be falling out of favor on the web.
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