Brave and DuckDuckGo are blocking Google AMP, putting another nail in its coffin

AMP is making more trouble than anything

When Google first unveiled its AMP project back in 2015, it had good intentions. It wanted to use these Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to speed up the transition to the mobile web, making it easy for sites to build fast and mobile-optimized pages without too much of a headache. Unfortunately, Google also favored sites that use AMP over those that don’t for its top stories carousel, essentially forcing almost all publications to build an AMP version of their sites. While Google has since walked back on this decision, AMP still exists. That’s why privacy-focused browser Brave and private search engine DuckDuckGo have decided to take matters into their own hands and block AMP on their platforms.


Brave and DuckDuckGo cite privacy concerns with AMP. DuckDuckGo explains in a tweet that AMP is bad for privacy because it allows Google to track users even more. The technology would also help the company cement its monopoly on search further, making publishers and websites create AMP sites in hopes for better ranking. Brave hits a similar note in a long blog post, saying that AMP is bad for privacy and facilitates the monopolization of the web. AMP would also confuse users as to which site they’re visiting, making them believe that they’re on a publisher’s webpage when they’re still on a site served by And as stated by Google itself in a report to the DOJ, AMP comes with performance and usability issues of its own that often makes it worse than well-optimized mobile websites.

Good old AMP links in the top stories carousel

In a statement to TheVerge, Google spokesperson Lara Levin rebuts the allegations. AMP is an “open source framework that was collaboratively developed with publishers, tech companies, and Google as a way to help web content load faster,” helping publishers “easily create great web experiences.” Danny Sullivan, Google’s search liaison, makes clear that AMP never changed search ranking itself and only ever affected the news carousel in the past, but not any longer. However, neither of these spokespersons directly addressed the privacy concerns shared by Brave and DuckDuckGo, and arguably, a website that appears in the news carousel is higher up than any other result coming below it.

Google’s AMP technology, for all their good intentions, were controversial from the beginning, and the industry appears to be moving away from them. Big publishers like Vox Media have stopped or are contemplating to stop serving AMPs altogether, and Google has further emphasized AMP in search results by removing the lighting bolt next to them that differentiated them from regular web pages in the past.

Brave had a privacy issue of his own to battle a couple of years ago. The browser was found injecting its own referral codes into links to some cryptocurrency sites, which theoretically allowed the company to see some amount of data about users who sign up using the referral link. It has since long stopped this practice, though.

De-amp is currently in testing in Brave Beta and Nightly and will be enabled by default once the next version of the browser, v1.38, ships on desktops and Android. Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo has already enabled its AMP protection on its browser extensions and its mobile apps.

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