When Google launched their Accelerated Mobile Pages platform last year, the intent was to make sure pages loaded faster on a mobile device. Instead of seeing the “real” source page, viewers would see a cached version (one that meant not even visiting the source web page, which was of course met with outcry from a lot of bloggers). The only problem is, the AMP system made sharing a link tricky.
Articles in the AMP system did indeed load much more quickly, but the trade off was that you were viewing a cached version of the page, not the actual web page. This meant the page’s URL was in a strange “google.com/amp/” that made it impossible to tell what site the story was from. If you shared the page on social media, it would share the cached version with the weird URL.
While Google isn’t changing their system, they are rolling out an easy fix for this problem. A simpler way to share articles is being introduced – a button that displays the original URL. Long tap on that link, and a “share” option pops up.
The new feature will be rolling out to different platforms gradually. Users on the iOS platform with the Google app will see the addition now, while Android users will see the feature added in “the coming weeks” according to Google.
It may seem like a small change, but sharing a link was definitely inconvenient through the old system. The weirdly formatted URL gave many people the impression that Google was somehow promoting their own tech and not taking the user to the real source page.
The feature is pretty similar to Facebook’s “Instant Article” system which had a “share” option (that did lead to the original page) for some time now, causing many people to question what took Google so long to implement the change. Either way though, the change is certainly welcome to people who often share news stories.