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Unbelievable Limitations Of Google AMP, Facebook Instant Article And Apple News

So, are you also very much excited about Google AMP, Facebook Instant Article Or Apple News Format like others? In this article we will shine light about some unbelievable limitations of all 3 mobile framework, which will make it pretty useless for a normal website owner, even if your site is in WordPress! Take a deep breath and keep reading, this is a very important discussion.


AMP Vs FBIA Vs AN - TheTechJournal

Almost exactly same time all 3 big player Google, Facebook & Apple brought their own mobile framework to make the mobile web faster. Though their motivation behind this framework is very different, but all those framework does mainly 2 things, make the mobile web lean, and super fast. As it sounds very promising (not saying those are not helpful), but in reality how much they are useful for a normal (WordPress) website? Let’s dig deep.

Facts of Google AMP:

Let’s first see how Google AMP works.

Do you see clearly how Google AMP Works?

It works when you search something in Google from a mobile device, and the result have some news type source, and very fresh, like those news must have been published within last 24hr to be even appear in AMP. So, mainly 3 criteria
1) It has to be News Article
2) It has to be very fresh, after 24hr, the article will not appear as AMP.
3) Article has to be ranked well enough to be included in Google Top Stories.

Do, you see the issue? So, if you have configured AMp for your site, if you use WordPress its even way easier, still you user will not see those AMP page if you are not a News Publisher, and your user will have to discover you article 24hr within you publish.

What about all other pages from Google Mobile Search? No, they will appear as usual, no AMP there.

How AMP works in WordPress:

If you have used the official plugin my Automattic, or any other plugin you might encounter or will encounter, they do basically 2 thing

1) Create a kind of templates/ themes for your site (mainly single post) which serves your content with complete AMP version, basically very lean and output with specific markup and serves minimal external resource and mostly rely on a service named amp-cdn.

2) And serves that amp templates when you site is accessed with an suffix “/amp/”.

And to let Google know that you have an amp version of a page, you have to add this markup in your normal version.

So, Google now know, and whenever people are searching from mobile something that matches your this content you qualify for serving AMP version. But it has to satisfy the 3 criteria that I stated above

1) It has to be News Article
2) It has to be very fresh, after 24hr, the article will not appear as AMP.
3) Article has to be ranked well enough to be included in Google Top Stories.

Example:

Look at this AMP page from my blog –

https://asif.im/2005/introducing-alo-server-probe/amp/

Unbelievable limitation:

1) Your article does not show up as AMP just 24hr after publish.

2) Normal Google Search visitor does not see your AMP Version.

3) None of your direct or any other mobile visitor sees AMP version.

4) You have to rank amazingly good to be listed in Top Stories! Which is undoubtedly super tough.

So most likely unless you are a big news corporation publishing news in every few minute, and your most traffic comes from Google Search, Google AMP will not make any difference in total user experience at all.

Facts of Facebook Instant Article:

So, if you are using Facebook apps for iOS or Android, you will notice the lighting sign on top of some  link share, tapping on that opens up the article/news instantly. Thats Facebook Instant Article, its truly Instant.

How It Works?

Check out this demo video we prepared

Facebook Instant Article in WordPress:

Here is the main plugin created by Automattic.

https://github.com/Automattic/facebook-instant-articles-wp

This is still beta, and under heavy development, so available at only github at this moment. After installing and setting this plugin your Facebook Instant Article feed url will be  –
`/feed/instant-articles`
 

Other plugins:

  1. Facebook Instant Articles & Google AMP Pages by PageFrog

  2. WP-InstantArticles

  3. Simple Facebook Instant Articles

More Details:

https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instant-articles

https://vip.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/new-wordpress-plugin-for-facebook-instant-articles/

Limitations:

Lets look at the limitations of Facebook Instant Article –

  1. It’s only for Facebook App user, not normal facebook user or even normal mobile user.
  2. Its still close for everybody else, beside just selected few publisher.*
  3. Its not available for your Search Visitor and direct user.
  4. RSS feed is a old dieing technology.

* This limitation will go away, when Facebook will open its door for Instant Article for all publisher from 12th April on Facebook’s Annual F8 Conference.

Facts of Apple News:

Apple released Apple News with iOS 9 last year. At the beginning access to its News App as publisher to just limited 20 publisher. Later it opened the door for others via RSS, but it has rather strict process for publisher to get approve. Now Apple released its own News Format on 17th March. Their technology is very past, they seems to cache the image and content are merely jSON data, so no JS, so very fast.

How It Works?

Check this intro video from WWDC

Apple News Format in WordPress:

WordPress has complete support and free plugin for Apple News. We actually did a detail piece with How-To guide, check that article.

Limitations:

  1. With new Apple News Format, I do see people are complaining it’s very hard to get into, and get approved.
  2. As Apple News format does not support some very common HTML markup, so you will end up having so many issues sending your article to Apple News.
  3. No way to automatically sending your old article to Apple News.
  4. Though there is reportedly 1 Billion Apple device on Planet Earth, still this is just for Apple, other smart device user will not get any benefit.
  5. Even your user who is coming from iPhone or iPad will not see the Apple News’s charming fast version, unless they use “Apple News” app, and have your channel added.

BTW we are available in Apple News, click from any iOS Device – https://apple.news/TI4Gnb7etTaeRegj4H53WZQ

Open Discussion:

If you follow me, you should know I am personally always worked so closely in faster mobile experience. We even created our own framework, which you could see if you visit this site from any mobile device or access directly here at – m.thetechjournal.com . And we created this 3 years ago, because we felt the need of something else to make the mobile web faster. This 3 new framework is very charming, but its real life use case is still very limited. If we truly want benefit we need faster mobile framework that works for all visitor, from any mobile device. There is more innovation to happen, let’s hope more stuff will come to bring more benefit from those 3 framework.

This is an open discussion, so please feel free to criticize my opinion or add your own. Let’s hope from this conversation we will have some good out come. For me personally, just while researching on this article, I got few ideas how we could benefit more. Maybe you will see some stuff very soon, who knows!

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