Google Shifts Governance Strategy for AMP Project

The mobile page project, largely associated with Google, will move to a governance model that will bring in outside companies to work on the open-source endeavor.

Since its 2016 launch, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project has been one of the most controversial initiatives the company has worked on, in part because of concerns that it was giving Google too much control over the open web.

Now Google, responding to the criticism, appears to be loosening the reins on the project by rethinking its governance strategy. In a blog post, Google’s Malte Ubl, who leads AMP, announced that the company would  allow more outsiders to get involved in the project, which aims to speed up mobile web surfing by restricting the HTML standard.

Putting an engineer or project creator at the center of an open-source initiative is common in the space; such leaders are often jokingly called “benevolent dictators for life.”  Ubl served in this role on AMP.

“While this works great for smaller projects, we’ve found that it doesn’t scale to the size of the AMP project today,” Ubl wrote. “Instead we want to move to a model that explicitly gives a voice to all constituents of the community, including those who cannot contribute code themselves, such as end users.”

He noted that Google is considering moving AMP to a foundation structure in the future, a popular approach for large open-source projects. “We see the governance changes as a first step in that direction,” he wrote.

The change, notes TechCrunch, could help AMP win fans outside of Google, including outside browser makers. (Already, Microsoft has announced support for AMP in Bing searches this week.) It could also ease concerns that the project is a threat to the open web due to Google’s tendency to favor AMP links in its searches.

Ubl noted that 78 percent of AMP contributors don’t work for Google but instead are from outside partners like Twitter, Pinterest, and eBay.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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