Google’s “Accelerated Mobile Pages” (AMP) project just announced they’re moving to a more open governance model for the AMP specification. Specifically, rather than relying on a single (Google-employed) technical lead, the project’s creating a suite of steering committees and working groups to make decisions about the direction of AMP. What’s more, those teams will be staffed by people both from the community, and from invested organizations — in other words, by people outside Google.
Frankly, this appears to be a very good move by the AMP project. I mean, more openness is good, sure. But on a personal note, I’m incredibly heartened to hear that Nicole Sullivan and Léonie Watson have been invited to sit on the advisory committee, not least because I’ve personally learned so much from them both over the years. And I think it speaks very, very highly of the effort that Terence Eden is also involved, as he’s been a vocal critic of AMP in the past. It’s also marvelous to see there’ll be a fund to cover the expenses and pay for the work of folks sitting on the AC that don’t have corporate backing. I’m excited to see how this shapes the AMP specification in the months to come.
There’s a very, very important distinction to be made here. The new governance model oversees the authorship of the AMP standard, which defines the structure of pages built with AMP, their interface, and so forth. It doesn’t influence AMP’s integration into various Google-owned properties, products like Search and Gmail. And as I’ve written before, those proprietary integrations are the reason AMP provides any value to the companies and publishers that adopt it. Today’s announcement doesn’t make those integrations more open — they’re still solely under Google’s purview.
In other words, I’m heartened to see that Google’s moving to make the AMP format more open. But this new governance model doesn’t change the underlying, more fundamental issues: specifically, Google’s use of its market dominance to broaden AMP’s adoption, and to influence the direction of a more decentralized and open web.