Les Orchard is typing…

Trying WordPress again

Done with Google’s Feed

For the past year or so, I’ve been using Google’s Discover feed from my phone’s home screen for part of my daily news habit. It’s been mostly okay and often relevant.

But, little paper cuts have finally hit my annoyance threshold – in particular:

  1. Quite often, the feed offers items that are months or years old
  2. Nearly every item links to a site using AMP
  3. Nearly every site using AMP does it badly

The first issue would be kind of forgivable, but I feel like a dummy every time I run into it without realizing it partway into an article. So, I guess, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice – you can’t get fooled again. Call me a curmudgeon, but I’m getting really worn out on non-chronological feed algorithms.

That second issue, though. As a web developer, I’ve been kind of grumbly about the general concept of AMP. But, as a user who reads news, Google’s AMP has felt like garbage.

It took me awhile to put it together, but things seemed weird about pages I visited from the Discover feed. I’m not sure if it was a recent decision for Google’s Discovery feed to link mostly to AMP content, but I’ve been noticing it more lately. And what I’ve noticed is what’s missing: Videos, tweets, comments, and other random bits of content.

Case in point:

Yes, that Tweet is mostly blank white space. It’s what a lot of articles published as AMP look like to me. It feels like no site publishing in AMP has made any effort to actually use AMP.

It just seems like they run their existing pages through a dumb filter and never observe the result. Page elements are just omitted, the content rarely (if ever) adapted to the format. Occasionally, a page will have partial text with a “Read full article” button – and a click of that button leads to a non-AMP page.

In fact, I can often just delete “/amp” or “?amp” from the URL – and like magic, all the missing content appears. It’s almost like the only incentive to use AMP is to check off a box for search rankings.

So anyway, in closing: I’ve been tinkering with my own feed reader again. With a few CSS tweaks, it works on my phone. It’s been plenty relevant so far. Thus, I think I’m done with Google’s feed for now and will try to avoid AMP pages wherever possible as a user.