back to article Google's crusade to make mobile web apps less, well, horrible

At SFJazz – the first freestanding jazz arts center in the US – on Thursday in San Francisco, Google riffed on the virtues of Progressive Web Apps as a vehicle for efficient and engaging content delivery. "Our mission is to move the web platform forward," said Darin Fisher, VP of Chrome engineering, at the Chrome Developers …

  1. Teiwaz Silver badge

    19 seconds...?

    ...Could shave most of that off, if the ads and the rest of the spiderweb of useless crap served up with web pages was cut down a little.

    Case in point, reg comments page almost took that long just now on wifi

  2. Mage Silver badge

    If they were serious

    Fix REGULAR Android Apps FIRST!

    1) No in App "reporting" to Google, other 3rd parties or seller

    2) No in App adverts

    3) Proper disclosure of App permissions, what they are for and reporting etc in the Playstore.

    4) Proper disclosure of in App purchases (An upgrade to a different version is not the same as game add-ins).

    5) Ability to turn off permissions per object, even if installed on older Androids such as 4.x etc.

    6) info in Playstore if printing, screencasting, external storage etc is supported.

    The user has too little information in advance of purchase and too little information afterwards.

    Why so few Apps support printing and external storage? 1992 Windows and its applications were better thought out than the Android + Apps mess.

  3. Mage Silver badge

    Web Apps?

    Most would be pointless if:

    1) Websites sensibly designed.

    2) If Adverts could be better managed

    3) If all 3rd party scripts & cookies etc could be blocked.

    Appifaction of websites is evil. It's a privacy busting walled garden.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Web Apps?

      You seem to want to have your cake and eat it.

      The distinction between apps and websites on smartphones has always been blurred (IOS initially only support XML widgets since then they've nearly always used some kind of HTMLView) and has become so more recently as developers try and pool resources and use a single codebase.

      I am no fan of the SPA (single-page app) craze, which has been shown to be difficult to maintain and poor for SEO but I don't see what's wrong with the PWA approach: visit a website and "install" it. No need for stores, just services. As for ads: what better that using the tools provided by the browsers to block them?

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The web is no fun.

    It's damned near impossible to just get some info without an advert popping up as you're half way through a paragraph. I just wanted a recipe for Crispy Beef, damnit! It's just hard to read anything without some *event* requiring my interaction to kill it. Ad Blockers are only a workaround.

    Since I pay for access to the internet, though mobile or ADSL, I wouldn't mind paying just a little more for a *usable* internet.

    The adverts on the Reg aren't too bad - though the banner advert at the top of the main page sometimes obscures the articles (Chrome on Android), and a couple of years back the Reg team let an autoplay video advert slip through (to their credit, they quickly killed it and it's not happened since).

    1. Immenseness

      Re: The web is no fun.

      On a (slightly) related rant, what is it with the the "read more" buttons that are popping up everywhere?

      I have a large screen, and more and more sites when I go to them now show 3 lines of something and I have to click to see more, often several times, when the entire thing would easily fit on the page.

      I have seen the same on mobile where the entire thing will fit on one mobile screen, but no, we want you to click twice more please. It seems to be another "because we can" solution with no problem to solve. Unless it counts to tell advertisers we got clicked x number of times or some such. Bah humbug, and sod off, I'll read it elsewhere.

      Beer time - click here to drink more!

  5. leon clarke

    60% of mobile data travels over 2G networks

    ..according to the article.

    I'd love to see the source for that. It may well be true. I suspect most developers of mobile websites consider bog-standard 3G to be intolerably slow.

    If it is true then far more than 60% of users will be on 2G as I'm fairly confident 3G and 4G users will use far more data per person than 2G users

    I'd have thought that over 2G, the only chance of a decent experience would be to teach the authors of native apps how to obsessively optimise for really bad networks (a skill that's incredibly rare these days). Getting a web app to perform at that level might be possible but would be even harder.

  6. Buzzword

    Huge native apps

    > downloading native apps weighing in at 17MB and 75MB respectively might prove prohibitive, a web app of less than 1MB

    You're doing your native app wrong. Consider the Sky News app on iOS: 87MB, all for an app whose content has to be downloaded from the internet anyway. I have no idea what's in that huge package, but I doubt it's sheer lines of code.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Huge native apps

      the Sky News app on iOS: 87MB

      Yes, but it probably includes all the news for the next decade, the only purpose of the Internet connection being that the mothership can decide when it's politically expedient for you to read it.

  7. cd

    Open an app killer, what do I see? Maps, Play, Gmail, etc all have opened uninvited. I'm sure they're not sending any data I didn't ask them to, they just like being open in case I should need them. Terefore they aren't impeding any loading times on things I did request, just standing by. Like a bunch of toughs on a corner.

    And then I try to read an article. I scroll along... wait, what was that again? Scroll upward and now the browser's URL bar drops down as does the Brobdingnagian website menubar megalith.

    There goes half my small screen for the sin of wanting to revisit a point. Makes it very interesting to even find what I wanted, much less back to where I was when I'm done, because if I scroll down enough they go away, so things keep shifting. None of the designers seems to have tried their own stuff on anything but one simulation app via a dedicated T1.

    At a certain point, unless I'm held captive in a windowless dungeon, it's happier just to watch cows graze or women fondle all the veggies until they choose the first one they picked up after all.

  8. William 3 Bronze badge

    Isn't Google an advertising company?

    Therefore it will do little to rectify the real reason for piss poor mobile web performance.


    It's like an alcholic brewery owner claiming they can shift the furniture around and all will be well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't Google an advertising company?

      The problem isn't ads but the insane number of trackers and redirects all trying to follow you around. ublock Origin shows you this all too clearly. Imagine how ITV would have done in its earliest years if every time the ad break came up an insane amount of intermediation took place before the ads were shown.

      I would have no objection to a website that simply showed me relevant ads, if I wasn't prepared to pay to get rid of them. But auto-playing videos and other nonsense like that suggest that the real problem is not advertising; it is that web advertising agencies are utter crap at their jobs.

  9. Christian Berger

    Why not VNC?

    (or some other play on the idea of a graphic terminal)

    VNC only transmits the data you actually display, it's relatively simple to implement (compared to a browser) and it has much less space for security problems as it doesn't rely on server based code to run on the device.

    Also VNC now uses by far less bandwidth than web apps. The only problem is latency... but then if you have a typical web app that loads data from 2 dozends of other servers, you're screwed on a high latency link anyhow.

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