Brave's De-AMP feature redirects Google-hosted AMP pages to publisher pages

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 20, 2022
Brave
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Brave Browser will soon redirect webpages, that use Google's AMP technology, to the publisher website automatically. AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a technology by Google that Brave considers to be harmful to a user's privacy, security and experience.

brave browser de-amp

Google claims that AMP is improving the user experience by improving the performance when loading AMP-powered webpages. The pages are served from Google servers, and Google uses preloading techniques and its own servers to serve AMP content. Pages that are loaded using AMP look as if they come from the publisher's website, but that is actually not the case.

In the past, we have highlighted several techniques to avoid AMP pages. Anti-AMP extensions are available for most browsers. Firefox users may check out Redirect AMP to HMTL, Chromium-browser users the version of the extension for their browser.

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Brave Software highlights the following issues of Google's AMP technology:

  • AMP is harmful to privacy -- AMP pages give Google more insights, as content is served from Google. Google penalizes publishers for not using AMP through decreased search visibility.
  • AMP is bad for security -- AMP content is loaded from Google, but AMP makes it look like as if the content is coming directly from the publisher.
  • AMP furthers the monopolization of the Web -- AMP content gives Google more control over the Web, using "arbitrary non-standards". Google controls the layout and technology that AMP pages use, and this benefits the company's core business, advertising.
  • AMP is bad for performance and usability -- Google's claim that AMP-powered pages load faster is only true for the "median of performance". AMP pages may load slower than regular pages served from a publisher's website (which Google revealed to the DOJ).

Google is working on AMP 2.0 already, even though it is not called that by Google. The next version uses Signed Exchange and WebBundle technologies, proposed by Google, and will result in "more of the Web to be served from Google's servers" and "give users less control over how they interact with that content" according to Brave.

Brave considers Signed Exchange and WebBundles to be problematic from a privacy, performance and user-control viewpoint.

Starting in Brave 1.38, and available in Beta and Nightly browser versions already, De-AMP is activated in Brave automatically by default.

With De-AMP enabled, Brave attempts to parse links directly to redirect the loading to the publisher's website immediately; this is the case for Google Search among other pages. Brave will also look for AMP HTML markup to identify AMP page loads. Brave intercepts the request and redirects it to the publisher's website automatically. The company notes that Brave does so before Google AMP scripts are fetched and loaded.

Brave Software plans to extend the protection in Brave 1.40 by extending the browser's debouncing privacy feature to include AMP URLs.

Now You: what is your take on AMP?

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Brave's De-AMP feature redirects Google-hosted AMP pages to publisher pages
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Brave's De-AMP feature redirects Google-hosted AMP pages to publisher pages
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Brave Browser will soon redirect webpages, that use Google's AMP technology, to the publisher website automatically.
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Comments

  1. Martin2108 said on April 20, 2022 at 8:08 am
    Reply

    “Google is the contemporary way to sell your soul to the devil”

  2. Cédric said on April 20, 2022 at 8:28 am
    Reply

    Bravo Brave!

    1. Frankel said on April 20, 2022 at 9:18 am
      Reply

      Bravo for something a simple Firefox addon has been doing since 2017 already?
      I mean I’ve heard about Five-year plans before, but only in China.

      1. Iron Heart said on April 20, 2022 at 10:01 am
        Reply

        @Frankel

        > add-on
        > included and enabled by default
        > totally the same thing of course

        Are the Firefox ads running out of steam these days?

      2. anona said on April 20, 2022 at 10:06 am
        Reply

        But the Firefox addon doesn’t run on mobile Firefox, which is where you would encounter AMP pages. Android Firefox dropped support for most extensions a while back (thankfully still supports uBlock Origin), iOS Firefox never supported extensions.

      3. Rsssxd said on April 20, 2022 at 1:25 pm
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        With Firefox Nightly browser on Android I can use “redirect amp to html” plugin and more plugins.

      4. Alex said on April 20, 2022 at 8:48 pm
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        Iceraven also supports plugins, and you can use your own collection

      5. Frankel said on April 20, 2022 at 7:16 pm
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        It does on Fennec mobile, so I fail to see the argument here.
        https://www.ghacks.net/2020/10/01/you-can-now-install-any-add-on-in-firefox-nightly-for-android-but-it-is-complicated/

        Tech savvy readers here would know this? No?

      6. Mattäus said on April 25, 2022 at 12:25 am
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        Iceraven does offer this AMP redirection functionality by an addon since a year. It’s also very easy to install, because there is no need for a collection. Iceraven is based on stable version of fenix.

  3. just me said on April 20, 2022 at 8:37 am
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    guys at Brave are getting serious

  4. Iron Heart said on April 20, 2022 at 8:52 am
    Reply

    All adblockers will eventually have to include an AMP blocking feature. AMP will be utilizing WebBundles, Google will be serving pages akin to PDF files basically:

    https://brave.com/web-standards-at-brave/3-web-bundles/

    There is no room for conventional adblocking with this. uBlock Origin will eventually have to include this, too.

    And @Mozilla, this is your chance to shine! Show your sugar daddy Google that you are taking the high road against AMP! /s

  5. Yash said on April 20, 2022 at 9:30 am
    Reply

    Not to start a browser war, but AMP isn’t a huge issue in FF. No AMP loading through Google and for Twitter links and else, ClearURLs or a custom shortner list works best.

    1. Iron Heart said on April 20, 2022 at 1:21 pm
      Reply

      @Yash

      @anona already stated it correctly, AMP pages are typically only served on mobile, and you would definitely get these on Firefox for Android / iOS. Even the desktop version of Google Chrome is not getting AMP pages.

      1. Yash said on April 20, 2022 at 4:15 pm
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        So?

      2. Iron Heart said on April 20, 2022 at 4:32 pm
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        @Yash

        > AMP isn’t a huge issue in FF

        It is on Firefox mobile. End of story.

        No desktop browser, including Google Chrome, currently has to deal with AMP.

      3. Iron Heart said on April 20, 2022 at 11:45 pm
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        @Frankel

        Nightly is the unstable channel, basically free beta testing for Mozilla. Your Fennec F-Droid suggestion was halfway reasonable, it eliminates the hardcoded trackers of mobile Firefox at least. :…….D

      4. Frankel said on April 21, 2022 at 2:03 pm
        Reply

        Don’t lecture me on nightly and the channels. It works fine on Fennec, which is ESR without telemetry.

        Arguing against yet another strawman you create.
        I.F. creating an easier strawman argument to knockdown and failing.

      5. Yash said on April 20, 2022 at 7:50 pm
        Reply

        Not just on FF, but on Chrome Android as well. Includes half of total internet devices. Good from Brave though taking this seriously and making themselves futureproof.

      6. Anonymous said on April 21, 2022 at 4:10 am
        Reply

        Redirect AMP to HTML by Aleksandersen
        AMP pages are designed for small-screen devices and often don’t translate well to larger screens. The extension can be especially useful if you receive links from people who’re on their mobile devices while you’re on your desktop computer.
        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/amp2html/

  6. Anonymous said on April 20, 2022 at 10:08 am
    Reply

    Good Job Brave !

  7. Derek Clements said on April 20, 2022 at 10:52 am
    Reply

    “Now You: what is your take on AMP?”
    A very slimy texture, with an unmistakable sinister aftertaste…
    … I’d recommend that you have a bucket handy.

  8. computer said no said on April 20, 2022 at 11:47 am
    Reply

    Well done to the brave team for recognising an up and coming issue and implementing a solution.
    Wonder what other tricks google will have up it’s sleeve in the future.

  9. motang said on April 20, 2022 at 12:42 pm
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    DuckDuckGo also announced that they will doing the same in their browser as well. I have been using AMP TO HTML in Firefox for years now. Works well.

  10. John G. said on April 20, 2022 at 2:26 pm
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    Brave and also all the chromium browsers have a lot of config options that are very unclear for a vast number of common users. In the other way, Firefox offers few config options and it’s very functional and clear for all people. For example, my grandma installed Firefox and she by her own was able to config it at her complete taste, including installing addons and themes. However, my grandma was unable to config Chrome or Edge, she got lost in a confusion sea with the too many options and mixed settings all around. In this sense, again, Firefox has the best handler management of all the current browsers with big difference: you can set to open a mailto link in Yahoo/Gmail easily, probably the easiest way I have ever seen (I still don’t know how to manage handlers in Chrome/Edge/Brave…). Thanks for the article! :]

  11. Daniel said on April 20, 2022 at 2:56 pm
    Reply

    Wonder what the folks at Vivaldi think about this?

  12. Bob said on April 20, 2022 at 3:16 pm
    Reply

    Didnt think AMP was a thing on desktop browsers anyway? Just for mobile

  13. Steve99 said on April 20, 2022 at 3:34 pm
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    Thanks for this article Martin. I usually use Firefox and when I have to, either Iridium or Chromium. Lately, with Brave’s blog and articles like this, Brave might be a replacement for chrome flavored browsers, To their credit, they offer Brave in a 32 bit flavor, which is the only way I use the web, via a 32 bit Win 7 VM. So, why not take Brave for a whirl.

    Brave does not offer an easily locatable redistributable nor portable zip file on their website, but they do offer a cornucopia of portables & installers on their github page….

    https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/releases
    https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases

    If you want release grade as opposed to nightly/beta grade, you’ll have to go through about 3 pages to locate their release grade assets. But, I am checking it out and am impressed by Brave’s speed. But like Iridium / Chromium, Brave crashes when simultaneously run with Firefox. But that’s a google “feature” to assure web dominance and I chalk that up to the pure evil that is google; like AMP pages and all other evil google creepiness.

    1. owl said on April 22, 2022 at 7:36 am
      Reply

      @Steve99,
      > am impressed by Brave’s speed. But like Iridium / Chromium, Brave crashes when simultaneously run with Firefox.

      All modern multiprocess browsers will be eating RAM like it’s nothing.
      I feel that the “Electron” may be the cause of the browser’s bizarre consumption of system resources (mostly maximum resources) when using the Chromium browser’s “Brave”.
      https://www.ghacks.net/2022/03/31/brave-1-37-new-sidebar-custom-new-tab-backgrounds-and-privacy-improvements/#comment-4518627
      https://www.ghacks.net/2022/04/08/microsoft-edge-100-improves-sleeping-tabs-ability-to-save-more-resources/#comment-4519009

      I have also used “Iridium” in the past.
      The biggest problem with this browser is that development support is slow and security patches from upstream are applied too late (usually delayed 6 months or more).
      https://github.com/iridium-browser/tracker/issues/325
      After much research, I found that “when the browser was first released, there were about 10 development staff, but the staff at that time resigned, and since last year, only two people, Michael Kromer (the head of development), and Jan Engelhardt (a newcomer)”, and it is no longer in a state of failure.
      https://github.com/iridium-browser

      1. Steve99 said on April 22, 2022 at 4:19 pm
        Reply

        @owl I’m only into day 2 of this Brave experiment and so far I like Brave allot and it has become my daily driver (see far below about firefox). I just checked, Brave is Electron based, since 2018 it is Chromium based. Your hunch seems valid, but I think the crashes have more to do with Google being evil than browsers consuming memory, which my VM has more than enough to support 20 tabs. I don’t know if google does this intentionally, but it is a very simple matter to crash apps. My boxes are like Swiss watches, they run very well and it is only Chromium that crashes. But I do suspect something nefarious, try running a Chromium based browser through a security app like DropMyRights; they won’t work if the the admin token is hard striped out.

        Why Iridium? To me, Google Chrome is the most awful browser on the market and Chromium is not much better. I attempted Vivaldi a few years ago, but could not locate a redistributable nor portable version, so I quickly gave up. That is when I discovered Iridium. For what it is, they make authentic efforts to rip out Google’s spyware. But yeah I have to agree with you, I am surprised if I see more than one new release of Iridium a year. That’s never bothered me though and I’ll still keep it around because I like the dev’s spirit and it’s nice to use software not made in the US (tends to be more privacy respecting such as VLC, etc).

        Brave?
        So far from what I see, the one thing Brave could do is have a single button labeled, “Protect this computers hardware”. Chromium based browsers have two main purposes: to spy on its user on Google’s behalf, and to deprive users of their right to privacy. I think the most egregious assault on this front comes from Google giving websites access to a machines clipboard, USB devices, hardware, files, etc – by default. Most users are not aware of this because the settings are difficult to find. Brave makes it
        easier to find these settings but it is still not obvious. Brave would do well to inform users of these Chromium based assaults and explain why they are harmful. It should also give an easy one click way to disable them on the user’s behalf. The other thing I do not like so far is, when uBo is installed, Brave kicks up an error which states manifest 2 is deprecated. Though not disabled yet, it was my understanding that Brave was going to work around this and ignore Google’s caustic assault on user agency and autonomy. We’ll see, but that is the one thing that would send droves of privacy expecting users back to firefox (assuming mozilla doesn’t dance for a few more dollars form mother google and deprecate it also).

        On the plus side and this is the first Chromium based browser I’ve seen to do this, Brave does not flood your network with chromecast calls to port 1900. Google should be sued for this because it uses up network resources, floods firewall logs with massive qtys of entries (think SSDs), and has no way of shutting it down that actually works. With Brave, it is one simple click to shut chromecast down and since, I have not seen a single entry to 1900 since switching to Brave.

        PS: I am suffering from severe firefox fatigue. Was a very early adopter and have used up to yesterday as default. When Mozilla stops aspiring to become Mozilla Chromium and restores Mozilla Firefox, it might be worth a peek. But for now, I’ve had enough.

      2. Steve99 said on April 22, 2022 at 4:24 pm
        Reply

        Fix typo > I just checked, Brave is *NOT* Electron based, since 2018 it is Chromium based.

      3. owl said on April 23, 2022 at 12:33 am
        Reply

        @Steve99,

        So, I checked again,
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_(software_framework)
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium_(web_browser)
        Electron supports the Chromium rendering engine.
        I carelessly misinterpreted the meaning. I am glad that your point made me realize my mistake.

  14. Indiana said on April 20, 2022 at 7:44 pm
    Reply

    Martin Should i use brave or firefox for privacy??

  15. Anonymous said on April 21, 2022 at 12:41 am
    Reply

    Why is it every browser post turns into “don’t use Firefox”? Seriously, I can’t read even one without the same few posters flooding the comments. Let me use whatever the hell I want.

    1. Unanimous said on April 21, 2022 at 9:57 am
      Reply

      No. Don’t use Firefox.

  16. Rex said on April 21, 2022 at 2:25 am
    Reply

    Keep adding more bloat that could be easily served by an extension, but forget about something so totally basic as prompting you when closing a window with multiple tabs on it. It has only been complained about on the Brave community since 2018 after all.

    1. Iron Heart said on April 21, 2022 at 8:12 am
      Reply

      @Rex

      Wow, what a delusional comment. Disabling AMP actually improves performance, so how can this be bloat? It‘s also not that large of a code snippet.

      I mean, I know that this comment section has an anti-Brave bias, but nevertheless, the comments seem to get more ridiculous as time goes by.

  17. Slave said on April 21, 2022 at 9:55 am
    Reply

    This has been a feature in the best browser for Android, Kiwi, a long time now. But let’s all praise Brave for innovation. umm okaaay.

    1. Iron Heart said on April 23, 2022 at 10:40 pm
      Reply

      It’s also a feature in Bromite, another great browser for Android. Any user-respecting browser should disable Google AMP by default. Why disparage any project for it? I don’t get it.

  18. paul said on April 21, 2022 at 12:46 pm
    Reply

    Hi use both, they are both privacy friendly but firefox is easier to configure, read John G. comment above.
    Most important use uBlock Origin.
    There is no such thing as privacy on the www, don’t worry be happy, enjoy life.
    Greetings

  19. paul said on April 21, 2022 at 1:46 pm
    Reply

    You can use whatever you want
    Does idiots have the right to bash
    Freedom of speech = freedom of wrong and right
    At the end you choice whats best for you
    btw firefox is my favored but i also use brave and librewolf and epic privacy browser
    Greetings

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