AMP strips publishers of full autonomy and control over their content. Hosted AMP pages obfuscate the source of what you’re reading, removes some control over your own brand, and essentially allows Google to use your content for free under the guise of making the web better. It hides your URL in favor of a Google.com-hosted version. (Though that will soon change for developers who opt to enable a “signed exchange” that authenticates their content with Google — a complex, technical workaround for what appears to be a simple design problem.) Previous applications of AMP even threw posts into a swipeable carousel, as if all the content were on display in a shop window.
All of which is to say that AMP is a way for Google to own the browsing experience. Sure, it’s technically optional — but it’s not really an option. If developers don’t use it, they stand to miss out on important traffic. Their websites will rank significantly lower in search. Google is by far the dominant search engine, with 92% market share worldwide and 94.5% on mobile. It’s simply impossible to ignore.
I’m well aware of all these problems because I was there when AMP was born. I attended the event where Google unveiled the project and hailed it as the savior of the mobile web. It was a noble cause: Someone had to do something about how slow and horrible it was to use the web on a phone. I worked at a news company that adopted AMP as a launch partner, and I’ve used it on my own site. It’s hard to exaggerate how much impact adding AMP support to a website actually has on traffic.