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Google and Twitter Are Developing Their Own "Instant Articles"

17470913285_88bdb99dc6_hGoogle and Twitter are working on an open source response to Apple News and FB Instant Articles.

The program doesn’t yet have a name, but Re/code reports today that:

The plan, which is supposed to launch with a small group of publishers this fall, is an effort to make it easier for publishers to distribute their stuff on mobile devices. It is also a response to similar pushes from Facebook, Apple and Snapchat.

The idea, according to multiple sources, is that Twitter users or Google search users who click on a link while using their phones will see full articles pop up on their screens almost immediately, instead of having to wait several seconds.

One big difference between those efforts and this one: Google and Twitter are creating their publishing tools as an open source project, and hope to convince multiple tech companies to adopt it.

Google and Twitter aren’t talking, but an anonymous person familiar with the companies’ thinking said: "The world needs an answer to proprietary instant articles, and Twitter and Google could provide it."

From the sounds of it, this is not a revived Google Reader so much as it’s a new type of caching technology. Google and Twitter won’t be hosting the content, nor will they directly control the service that does. Instead, the plan is to have the publishers serve visitors cached Web pages when they click a link.

The publishers will be using tech that is currently being called "accelerated mobile pages". It’s not clear how that is different from the caching tech that is already used today (including CDN, cache, etc) but it does sound like Twitter and Google believe this will be an improvement.

Of course, the real problem with slow-loading webpages is not the page itself but the adverts, tracking code, and other bloat that the publishers shove into the page. Until we know how the new tech handles the bloat problem, we won’t know whether it will actually help improve the mobile browsing experience.

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