Brave has announced a new feature for their browser called “De-AMP” that specifically bypasses “harmful” Google-hosted AMP pages to protect users’ privacy.
While Google’s AMP pages (Accelerated Mobile Pages) may seem like a good thing to an end-users since many web pages load faster, due to search results being preloaded in the background before being served up by Google themselves, Brave states that users should be wary of this feature as it’s actually “harmful to users and to the Web at large.”
In a new blog post, Brave claims that “AMP is harmful to privacy,” first and foremost, as AMP gives Google a broader view of what webpages you visit and how you interact with them, information that they can feed into their algorithms or sell to advertisers.
Additionally, Brave claims that “AMP is bad for security” as by design AMP confuses users about just which website host they’re interacting with. Since users are still within Google’s control, rather than the host website’s, Brave believes that AMP crosses the web’s unspoken privacy boundaries that other “user-respecting browsers defend.”
As if privacy and security concerns weren’t enough, it is also claimed that Google’s AMP technology isn’t even good at doing its job, as overall “AMP is bad for performance and usability,” with only the ‘median of performance’ being improved across all the AMP affected pages.
Thankfully for those who don’t like the sound of those problems, Brave is here to now eliminate the scourge of AMP for its users. Through its new De-AMP feature, Brave will modify and redirect Google’s AMP pages where possible in order to send users to the publisher’s version of the website rather than Google’s own version.
We're rolling out De-AMP, which allows Brave users to bypass Google-hosted AMP pages and instead visit the content’s publisher directly. AMP pages harm users’ privacy, security, & Internet experience, & help Google further control the direction of the Web. https://t.co/6O3rKJ1EWo
— Brave Software (@brave) April 19, 2022
If Brave is to believe in their blog post, this De-AMP feature couldn’t have come soon enough, as Google is currently working on a successor to AMP built around their Signed Exchange (SXG) and WebBundle proposals.
This AMP successor will supposedly allow more of the web to be served directly from Google’s servers, giving users less control over the content they interact with and more confusion about where it’s even coming from, all at the expense of maybe faster-loading webpages.