Ebay clearly believes that AMP is for more than just publishers and thinks it would be great for all kinds of websites and especially for ecommerce. “The speed aspect was very critical for us, and we wanted to do more for speed,” stated Senthil Padmanabhan, Principal Web Engineer at eBay. “That is when we ran into AMP.”
The AMP project was announced around the same time we started the initial brainstorming for browse. It seemed to resonate a lot with our own thinking on how we wanted to render the new experience. Although AMP was more tuned towards publisher-based content, it was still an open source project built using the open web. Also, a portion of the traffic to the new browse experience is going to be from search engines, which made it more promising to look into AMP. So we quickly pinged the AMP folks at Google and discussed the idea of building an AMP version for the browse experience, in addition to the normal mobile web pages. They were very supportive of it. This positive reaction encouraged us to start looking into AMP technology for the eCommerce world and in parallel develop an AMP version of browse.
Today we are proud to announce that the AMP version of the new browse experience is live, and about 8 million AMP-based browse nodes are available in production. Check out some of the popular queries in a mobile browser — Camera Drones and Sony PlayStation, for example. Basically adding amp/ to the path of any browse URL will render an AMP version (for example, non-AMP, AMP). We have not linked all of them from our regular (non-AMP) pages yet. This step is waiting on few pending tasks to be completed. For now, we have enabled this new browse experience only in mobile web. In the next couple of weeks, the desktop web experience will also be launched.
“We are excited to partner with Google and everyone else participating on the AMP Project to close the gap in launching a full-fledged eCommerce experience in AMP,” says Padmanabhan. “We have created a combined working group to tackle the gap, and we will be looking into these items and more.” The items Padmanabhan is referring to include smart buttons, input elements, advanced tracking and A/B testing. “With items like these in place, AMP for eCommerce will soon start surfacing.”
“We will also be looking into creating a seamless transition from the AMP view to a regular page view, similar to what the Washington Post did using Service Workers.” Padmanabhan added. “This will enable users to have a complete and delightful eBay experience without switching contexts.”
“We are on our path to making eBay the world’s first place to shop and this is a step towards it,” concluded Padmanabhan.
John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google in Switzerland, confirmed what everybody is thinking, Google and the AMP Team ultimately intends for almost all sites to display AMP versions for mobile devices. “If you ask the AMP team, they will tell you that all websites should be using AMP, “Mueller said in replying to a question from a Hangout participant. “So to some extent, I can see that making sense. It’s definitively one way to make really fast websites, or websites that load almost instantly.”
“If you’ve been holding off because you’re saying, well, my website doesn’t need this, then maybe it makes sense to take a look again and see what it does now,” Mueller said. “So at the moment, we only show it for the kind of in the news, carousel on top, the top stories and that’s something where I expected to kind of expand to other parts of the search results as well.”
Meuller was also asked about the recent news about eBay adopting AMP, “I think with the eBay one, even though it was an AMP, they couldn’t add to cart, or something like that,” responded Mueller. “They didn’t have that functionality on the site.”
“There’s definitely some things that don’t work so well with AMP at the moment,” says Meuller. “But it’s an open source project, so I think people from eBay are active there as well, making new components and that’s something that I expect to evolve over time.” The Webmaster Trends Analyst added, “I am really happy that someone like eBay is taking the time to do these kind of experiments, because even if they’re not showing in search yet, we can’t get there without people actively trying things that kind of go past what’s possible now.”
“I imagine if someone like eBay can get it to work for their site, which is really dynamic, which requires a lot of interaction, then that’s something that’ll be possible for a lot of other sites as well,” concluded Meuller.
Check out the discussion in the Google Hangout video below: