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Google wants news articles to load on your phone in an instant

The search giant's new Accelerated Mobile Pages project seeks to improve Web browsing on smartphones and offer fresh competition to Facebook's Instant Articles.

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Google is working to make mobile browsing less of a waiting game. Frank May/dpa/Corbis

NEW YORK -- If you're reading this article on a mobile browser, it probably took longer to load than you wanted.

Google is hoping it can change that with its introduction Wednesday of a technology called AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, which was created to load up articles nearly instantly on a smartphone. Some of the organizations already dabbling with AMP include Twitter, The New York Times, the Guardian, BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Daily Mail. The technology, first reported last month, is just being previewed for now and will launch publicly at a later date.

"The Web today, particularly in a mobile environment, is not really fully satisfying users' expectations," Richard Gingras, Google's head of news, said Wednesday at a press event here. "It's not as fast as it should be. Pages load slowly, sometimes erratically. It's not ideal." And mobile advertising can at times be annoying.

Looking to bolster Web browsing on mobile devices, the company created AMP. It's essentially standardized Web pages that include best practices Google developed to cut down on load times. For instance, an AMP-powered page won't load an image or video until a user scrolls down to it, allowing a Web browser to load the top of a page much faster. Google will also cache pages on its top-of-the-line servers -- which are built to handle 6 million queries a second -- helping speed up the time it takes to retrieve an article. AMP could be used for any kind of content on just about any device, but Google chose to focus on news articles on mobile first.

"We think that's the biggest pain point, where it can make the most impact," David Besbris, a Google vice president of engineering, said at the event.

The end result, presented in a demo Wednesday, allows users to flip through stories about any given subject with almost immediate load time of each page.

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A screenshot of a demo page for Google's AMP project. Google

Google makes a big chunk of its mobile ad revenue from Web browsers, so improving that experience is critical for helping the Mountain View, California, company remain the leading moneymaker in mobile ads. Looking to chip away at Google's top position, Facebook, Snapchat and Apple have all come out with their own projects to serve up news articles faster within their own apps. For example, Facebook's Instant Articles hosts news articles, allowing for speedier loading time.

Google is the leader in both desktop and mobile ad sales, but it's losing ground to Facebook in mobile. This year, Google is projected to nab almost 33 percent of the mobile ad sales market, while Facebook will get more than 19 percent, according to eMarketer. Google's share is slowly shrinking, while Facebook's is growing.

Google's AMP is an open-source project that's available to news sites without any specific partnerships with Google.

"We feel that we need to solve some of these fundamental issues together," Melissa Bell, vice president of growth and analytics at Vox Media, said of her organization's interest in joining the project.

Gingras said he's interested to see how developers start using AMP outside of news articles to speed up the Web.

"This is the starting line," he said.

CNET News reporter Richard Nieva contributed to this story.