On the potential of Google AMP to promote local content in developing regions

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The Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project has gained a lot of interest from content providers as a means to improve user experience. It introduces a number of innovations to streamline the downloading, parsing and rendering of pages. Google recently announced the hosting of more than 2B+ web pages, covering more than 900K domains.

Due to the constrained nature of Internet connectivity in developing regions, AMP offers particularly exciting potential for improving web user experience in these countries. This paper provides a first look at Google’s AMP performance in Africa. We start by outlining the current web infrastructure provisioning in Africa, using local news websites as a case study. Discovering a sparse and low-performance environment, we then evaluate the benefits that AMP can introduce in terms of accessibility to local content in developing regions.

This study reveals that in Africa, AMP is able to reduce page load time and page size by a factor of 3 and 8 respectively. However, AMP is not a neutral technology as the search engine favours content that is using Google AMP. This raises an important question of search neutrality.

 


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