AMP up your mobile web experience: Characterizing the impact of Google's Accelerated Mobile Project

Byungjin Jun, Fabián E. Bustamante, Sung Yoon Whang and Zachary S. Bischof
To appear in Proc. of Mobicom, November 2019.
Northwestern University

CS Department
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL 60208, USA
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The rapid growth in the number of mobile devices, subscriptions and their associated traffic, has served as motivation for several projects focused on improving mobile users' quality of experience (QoE). Few have been as contentious as the Google-initiated Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP), both praised for its seemingly instant mobile web experience and criticized based on concerns about the enforcement of its formats. This paper presents the first characterization of AMP’s impact on users’ QoE.We do this using a corpus of over 2,100 AMP webpages, and their corresponding non-AMP counterparts, based on trendy-keyword-based searches. We characterized AMP’s impact looking at common web QoE metrics, including Page Load Time, Time to First Byte and SpeedIndex (SI). Our results show that AMP significantly improves SI, yielding on average a 60% lower SI than non-AMP pages without accounting for prefetching. Prefetching of AMP pages pushes this advantage even further, with prefetched pages loading over 2,000ms faster than non-prefetched AMP pages. This clear boost may come, however, at a non-negligible cost for users with limited data plans as it incurs an average of over 1.4 MB of additional data downloaded, unbeknownst to users.