Google has improved its AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages to make URLs simpler and less confusing.
AMP aims to allow websites to load faster by fetching pages from Google's cache but had a drawback, as each URL for AMP pages began with https://google.com/amp.
This quirk was off-putting to both publishers, whose brand was buried behind the Google prefix, and to Google. Last January Google announced a solution that preserved the original URL on AMP pages, which was available in a developer preview in November for Chrome 71, and is now being rolled out more widely.
SEE: Tech budgets 2019: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
The answer to the AMP URL problem are "signed exchanges", which allow a publisher's domain to be displayed in the browser address bar, even though the content is loaded from Google's cache when a user clicks on an AMP link in Google Search results.
"A signed exchange is a file format, defined in the web packaging specification, that allows the browser to trust a document as if it belongs to your origin," explains Google.
"This allows you to use first-party cookies and storage to customize content and simplify analytics integration. Your page appears under your URL instead of the google.com/amp URL."
The new format creates some extra work for publishers, who'll need to publish a signed exchanged version of their content, as well as the non-signed exchange version.
For now, the feature is only supported by Chrome – but Google notes an upcoming version of the Microsoft Edge browser will also support it.
Cloudflare is also supporting the initiative and has made what it calls "AMP Real URL" available for free to all its customers.
The change should be a win for e-commerce business and publishers who, for branding reasons, would prefer to see their own domain up front in the address bar.
For website users, having the correct URL in the address bar will make it easier to copy the URL of a site to save or share.
MORE ON GOOGLE