Brave announced the launch of a new feature called De-AMP yesterday, April 19th, 2022, to bypass Google and improve user privacy. This feature allows Brave users to skip Google-hosted AMP sites and go directly to the publisher of the content.
Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, is an open-source non-standard HTML subset designed to improve the performance of web pages on mobile devices. Google spearheaded the project. Although AMP was designed to look like contents are coming from the original publisher’s site, AMP pages are served from Google’s servers. As a result, AMP allows Google to monopolize and control the Web’s direction.
According to Brave, AMP compromises privacy by giving Google a more comprehensive view of which pages users visit on the Internet and how they interact with them. It also pushes developers to integrate more intimately with Google’s servers and systems and penalizes publishers with lower search ranks and placements, allowing Google to track users’ profiles and monopolize the Internet. AMP also makes it difficult for users to determine which website they’re visiting. It gives the impression that users interact with the content publisher while still under Google’s control. It is also detrimental to performance and usability because AMP pages can load slower than other publisher speed optimization techniques. Many Web users pay money to avoid AMP pages because of their poor performance and usability.
Brave intend to take three steps to protect its users against AMP:
1. Brave will change the links on fetched pages that regularly connect to AMP pages to point to the publisher versions of those pages rather than the AMP ones.
2. Brave tweaked Blink to keep an eye on when AMP sites are loaded. When you enable De-AMP, Brave will scan your pages for AMP HTML markup as they load. If Brave detects an AMP page is loading, before rendering, the browser will stop loading the current page and instead load the “true” version.
3. Brave will extend its existing debouncing feature to identify when visitors are about to visit AMP URLs and redirect them to the true version of the page. This project is in the works and will be released in version 1.40.
These steps prevent Google’s AMP scripts and images from being fetched and executed, limiting the amount of information Google learns about your browsing considerably.
The De-AMP feature is already available in Brave Nightly and Beta versions, and it will be enabled by default in the next 1.38 Desktop and Android versions, with iOS to follow shortly.