Baidu becomes Google’s biggest ally in mobile page speed

The breaking news came on March 7, 2017, that Baidu is now supporting Google’s mobile framework, AMP. The tech leader of Baidu MIP, Gao Lei, gave a speech at Google’s first AMP conference in New York. He confirmed that Baidu is working hand-in-hand with Google to accelerate the faster web globally.

Gao Lei at Google AMP Conference, New York, March 7, 2017

Gao Lei at Google AMP Conference, New York, March 7, 2017

Baidu MIP, which stands for Mobile Instant Pages, is Baidu’s own version of Google’s AMP. The technologies of MIP are very similar to AMP. In fact, coding an MIP page is just like coding an AMP page, except MIP pages are more customized and optimized for the browsers in the market of mainland China.

Baidu says that a Mobile Instant Page can reduce the rendering of above-the-fold content by 30 percent to 80 percent. Moreover, the tap-to-open rate will increase by 5 percent to 40 percent. And similar to Google, Baidu has been considering potentially giving the MIP pages a ranking advantage in search results.

Mobile Page Accelerator – MIP Components: Core Parts

Mobile Page Accelerator – MIP Components: Core Parts

The two search engine giants are collaborating for the first time to tackle the problems of slow pages and unfriendly user experiences on mobile devices. Lei says that they are trying to avoid websites investing redundant resources to adopt both AMP and MIP. This implies that the future of AMP and MIP may look even more identical; that said, a one-for-all global mobile framework could be in the making.

Baidu certainly is not going to abort its MIP project and replace it with Google’s AMP, as there have been over 1 billion MIP pages indexed by Baidu already.

We have yet to confirm with Baidu exactly what they have aligned with Google, and how. They say that there are still technical issues to solve. However, Baidu has confirmed that users can eventually open an AMP page from a Baidu SERP. We don’t know how they plan to do this, whether by opening the AMP pages directly from the SERP or translating them into MIP pages.

At Merkle China, we’ve already seen Google and Baidu taking the first steps. Prior to the announcement, the AMP Project website could not be loaded successfully in mainland China. I could only dial on a VPN to check the reference on www.ampproject.org. However, all ampproject.org links are now accessible. When we check the CDN, we see Google enabled the CDN for China, and it loads extremely fast!

Google enables a CDN node for China

Google enables a CDN node for China

Given that most AMP traffic originates from Google organic SERPs, it wouldn’t have make sense for AMP documentation to be available in mainland China prior to the announcement. But now developers within the Great Firewall will be able to view and implement this documentation in preparation for Baidu’s support of this framework.

This collaboration will certainly benefit mobile internet users, who will be able to enjoy hyper speed on their devices. Of course, it will also benefit brands that want to build a larger presence in mainland China.

It is unclear whether users out of the Great Firewall can open an MIP page from a Google SERP; that will depend on whether Google decides to provide support MIP in its search results or accept the customized MIP pages as AMP pages.

To be continued… !

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