If you checked Google News on mobile today, depending on your device and location, you may have seen a pretty massive change: headlines are now contained in an AMP carousel. This is a huge change, as previously, all news stories were in a neat list. Now, we’ve got images front and center, with way less stories above the fold.
The really huge change here is literally huge: images on these AMP headlines are more than four times larger than the other news article results. This means that there are generally only two news listings that aren’t cut off above the fold, compared to the old list style with four and a half above the fold. The front page just got a lot tighter.
No longer do we have a Top Stories section. It’s now called Headlines, and it’s a scrolling carousel. All of these pages open in the AMP frame, and you can swipe left and right to get from story to story.
What this means
Google is definitely making a big push for AMP, and it’s no surprise: Google’s testing shows that AMP articles load four times faster and use 50% less data than non-AMP versions. It’s certainly fast when you load an article, and a great user experience to swipe left and right once you’ve opened the article.
Is this change better for the user, though?
The experience of Google News on mobile has always been simple. Top stories up top, and scroll down through all the sections. Now, though, the carousel adds a complication. Instead of scrolling down, you now have to scroll left and right for headlines, and up and down for the rest of the stories. No more skimming up and down – it takes one action to read the headlines, and another action to read the rest of the stories.
The Device type divide
It looks like the rollout is based on device and browser. In our testing, we get the AMP carousel on iPhone 5 & 6 when using Safari, but we’re still seeing the old Google News with Chrome for iOS. Galaxy S6 and S7 get the AMP carousel, while our lone Galaxy S4 got the old Google News. iPhone 4 got the old Google News as well.
It’s interesting because the older devices are the ones which could potentially benefit most from the super lightweight AMP pages.
Stop putting off AMP. Make the jump.
If you care about mobile at all, it’s time to take the jump into AMP. It’s very clear that Google is moving towards AMP preference in all arenas of mobile, and you need to get in now. There’s no reason not too, especially if you’re on a content management system that has plugins or modules to handle the heavy lifting. We wrote a post about how to get AMP on WordPress in 15 minutes – and truthfully, half that 15 minutes was spent taking the screenshots!
AMP is the future on mobile, like it or not.