Google: AMP to use ‘consensus-seeking’ governance model

When the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project began, the open-standard to enable publisher pages load quickly on mobile was a Google-driven initiative. On Tuesday, the company said there are “more than 700 folks contributing over 10,000 commits running on many millions of websites.” Now Google says AMP is moving to an “open governance model.”

The announcement comes in advance of the AMP Contributor Summit, which is happening next week at Google’s Moutain View, CA headquarters. A review and comment period for the proposal will end on October 25. The new model will be implemented shortly thereafter.

Why is this happening? The two-year-old project has grown and evolved to the point where there are multiple constiuencies invovled. Until now, decisions about what updates and features got executed came down to one man: Malte Ubl, tech lead for the AMP Project at Google. Ubl wrote in Tuesday’s announcement that it is time for a more formal and inclusive governing structure.

According to stats released by Google, nearly 80 percent of contributions now come from the broader AMP publisher/developer community.

What will change? Ubl outlined the ways in which the AMP decision-making process will change:

  • The power to make significant decisions in the AMP Project will move from a single Tech Lead [currently Ubl] to a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) which includes representatives from companies that have committed resources to building AMP, with the end goal of not having any company sit on more than a third of the seats.
  • An Advisory Committee with representation from many of AMP’s constituencies will advise the TSC.
  • Working Groups with ownership over certain aspects of AMP (such as the UI, infrastructure and documentation) will replace the informal teams that exist today.  These Working Groups will have a clear mechanism for input and a well-defined decision making process.
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Seeking interested third parties. A partial list of companies already committed to Advisory Committee participation include news publishers El País and the Washington Post, e-commerce companies AliExpress and eBay, as well as Cloudflare, Automattic and others.

The company is also inviting interested parties to apply to be part of these various committees and groups. Compensation will also be available for participation in particular cases.

Why it matters. AMP has been an important, sometimes controversial and unevenly implemented initiative to speed up page load times and make content more mobile friendly. A more democratic model will likely benefit marketers and publishers utilizing the format, as they gain more of a say in its direction. Ubl said there is the first step in possibly moving AMP to a foundation in the future.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

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