Brave bypasses Google AMP pages because they are “harmful to users”

Brave announced a new feature for its browser on Tuesday: De-AMP, which automatically skips past any page rendered with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages framework and instead takes users directly to the original site. “Where possible, De-AMP will rewrite links and URLs to prevent users from completely visiting AMP pages,” Brave said in a blog post. “And in cases where this is not possible, Brave will watch while pages are being retrieved and redirect users away from AMP pages before the page is rendered at all, preventing AMP / Google code from being loaded and executed.”

Brave framed De-AMP as a privacy feature and did not talk about his position on Google’s version of the web. “In practice, AMP is harmful to users and to the web as a whole,” Brave’s blog post stated before explaining that AMP gives Google even more knowledge about users’ browsing habits, confuses users and can often be slower than normal web pages. And it warned that the next version of AMP – so far only called AMP 2.0 – will be even worse.

Brave’s stance is particularly strong, but the tide has turned sharply against AMP over the last few years. Google originally created the framework to simplify and speed up mobile sites, and AMP is now managed by a group of open source contributors. It was controversial right from the start and smelled to some like Google trying to exercise even more control over the web. Over time, more companies and users became concerned about this control and gnawed at the idea that Google would prioritize AMP pages in search results. Plus, the rest of the Internet eventually figured out how to make great mobile sites, making AMP – and similar projects like Facebook Instant Articles – less important.

A number of popular apps and browser extensions make it easy for users to skip AMP pages, and in recent years publishers (incl. The Verge’s parent company Vox Media) has gone completely away from using it. AMP has even become part of the antitrust battle against Google: a lawsuit claimed that AMP helped centralize Google’s power as an advertising exchange, and that Google made non-AMP ads load slower.

Yet no one has gone as hard for AMP as Brave. De-AMP is somewhat reminiscent of Mozilla’s Facebook Container extension, which it created in 2018 as a way for Firefox users to prevent Facebook from tracking them across the web. It is a statement of values ​​in the form of a new function. Google has also been a target for Brave for years; Brave has published blog posts complaining about Google’s privacy features and even went so far as to build its own search engine. Brave has long billed itself as a privacy-seeking browser, so Google is a logical villain to choose from.

Of course, despite all of Brave’s bravado and development, it holds only a small portion of the browser market, and Chrome continues to dominate. So no matter how much of the internet turns against it, AMP will not die until Google kills it.