Microsoft has announced that the Bing app for iOS and Android now uses Google technology to load web pages faster. The app now supports the AMP initiative which streamlines web pages to reduce their size, prioritizing user experience over ads and tracking.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) was unveiled by Google in October 2015. The company partnered with publishers and tech companies worldwide to create the open-source initiative, making it free for all. Microsoft has now integrated AMP into the Bing mobile app, letting it load content significantly faster than before.
AMP uses specially developed lightweight web pages. It supports responsive design and optimized interactive elements, including adverts. These are reflowed into the main content so they load quickly and don’t trigger a performance penalty. To ensure the page is always loaded in the fastest time possible, AMP content is cached on Google’s servers across the world.
The technology is already supported by publishers including the BBC, Condé Nast, The Guardian and Vox Media. Starting today, it’s present in the Bing app, enabling up to 80 percent faster page loads of compatible content. Bing will now consume less data and display pages faster, two significant benefits which will directly improve the user experience.
Microsoft has integrated AMP into the news feed displayed in the Bing app’s search results and homepage. For each article, Bing now detects whether the page is compatible with AMP. If it is, it downloads the AMP-ready page from the nearest location. A small lightning-bolt icon is added to the article header to show it has been loaded using AMP. If AMP is not present, the page is loaded as normal. Microsoft says it runs its own performance techniques to optimize the loading times of content that doesn’t use AMP.
“We started experimenting with AMP in our Bing App last May and have noticed that AMP pages load, on average, approximately 80 percent faster than non-AMP pages,” said Marcelo De Barros, Group Engineering Manager in charge of the AMP integration at Bing. “Lighter pages also translate into less data being transferred over the network, requiring less network bandwidth to be downloaded.”
AMP can deliver tangible performance improvements but the technology isn’t without its critics. Sceptics are concerned that Google already has too much of an impact on the way in which online content is consumed. AMP takes that a step further. Despite being an open-source initiative, it is heavily reliant on Google technology and servers. Many publishers have opted to retain complete control of their content and code, preventing the mobile web from being dominated by AMP.
Microsoft said it has observed a “significant increase” in AMP adoption. It has rolled out the updated Bing app today in response to this. It said it is “happy to be collaborating” with other AMP participants. The Bing app with AMP technology is available now on iOS and android.