AMP Has Irreparably Damaged Publishers’ Trust in Googleled Initiatives

AMP Has Irreparably Damaged Publishers’ Trust in Google-led Initiatives

The Chrome Dev Summit concluded earlier this week. Announcements and discussions on hot topics impacting the greater web community at the event included Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, improvements to Core Web Vitals and performance tools, and new APIs for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).  

Paul Kinlan, Lead for Chrome Developer Relations, highlighted the latest product updates on the Chromium blog, what he identified as Google’s “vision for the web’s future and examples of best-in-class web experiences.”

During an (AMA) live Q&A session with Chrome Leadership, ex-AMP Advisory Board member Jeremy Keith asked a question that echoes the sentiments of developers and publishers all over the world who are viewing Google’s leadership and initiatives with more skepticism:

Given the court proceedings against AMP, why should anyone trust FLOC or any other Google initiatives ostensibly focused on privacy?

The question drew a tepid response from Chrome leadership who avoided giving a straight answer. Ben Galbraith fielded the question, saying he could not comment on the AMP-related legal proceedings but focused on the Privacy Sandbox:

I think it’s important to note that we’re not asking for blind trust with the Sandbox effort. Instead, we’re working in the open, which means that we’re sharing our ideas while they are in an early phase. We’re sharing specific API proposals, and then we’re sharing our code out in the open and running experiments in the open. In this process we’re also working really closely with industry regulators. You may have seen the agreement that we announced earlier this year jointly with the UK’s CMA, and we have a bunch of industry collaborators with us. We’ll continue to be very transparent moving forward, both in terms of how the Sandbox works and its resulting privacy properties. We expect the effort will be judged on that basis.

FLoC continues to be a controversial initiative, opposed by many major tech organizations. A group of like-minded WordPress contributors proposed blocking Google’s initiative earlier this year. Privacy advocates do not believe FLoC to be a compelling alternative to the surveillance business model currently used by the advertising industry. Instead, they see it as an invitation to cede more control of ad tech to Google.

Galbraith’s statement conflicts with the company’s actions earlier this year when Google said the team does not intend to disclose any of the private feedback received during FLoC’s origin trial, which was criticized as a lack of transparency.

Despite the developer community’s waning trust in the company, Google continues to aggressively advocate for a number of controversial initiatives, even after some of them have landed the company in legal trouble. Google employees are not permitted to talk about the antitrust lawsuit and seem eager to distance themselves from the proceedings.



This article was written by Sarah Gooding and originally published on WP Tavern.

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