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Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Google said Thursday it will start making "page experience," or how user-friendly a web page is, a ranking factor in Google Search, as well as in the "Top Stories" feature in mobile Search. Factors like load time and interactivity will be included in the evaluation.

Why it matters: It's part of a long list of actions Google has taken to force web publishers to deliver better experiences for users. For example, Google has in the past banned traffic to publishers with annoying pop-up ads.

Details: The company is also removing the requirement that a publisher needs to use its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) infrastructure to be eligible as a featured top story in Search.

  • Google used to require that publishers use AMP in order to ensure that top results had a great user experience, but the company now says that its "Top Stories" feature will be open to any page.
  • For publishers that currently publish pages as AMP, or with an AMP version, Google said they will see no change in behavior and that the AMP version will be the one linked from "Top Stories."

What's next: Google said that because of the pandemic, these changes will be implemented slowly and that there is no need for web publishers to take immediate action.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 1, 2020 - Technology

Apple, Google to allow coronavirus exposure notifications without app

Photo: Apple and Google

Apple and Google are expanding their digital coronavirus exposure notification system so that it can notify people without the regional health authority needing to create a separate app, potentially expanding the adoption of the technology.

Why it matters: The companies say 25 U.S. states and territories are exploring digital contact tracing options. Just six have already launched apps.

Aug 31, 2020 - Technology

Facebook, Google hurt local communities, group says

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook and Google are hollowing out local communities by serving as vectors for misinformation while hobbling local journalism and collecting taxpayer subsidies, a new paper from progressive think tank the American Economic Liberties Project charges.

The big picture: Both companies cite benefits their platforms offer small businesses as a key defense against critiques of their size and power. The paper, dated Aug. 30, is sure to presage further scrutiny of the impact they've had on local communities.

Biden gets mixed grades on revolving door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is getting mixed marks for his reliance on industry insiders to staff his administration during its first 100 days.

Why it matters: Progressives have leaned on the new president to limit the revolving door between industry and government. A new report from the Revolving Door Project praises him on that front but highlights key hires it deems ethically questionable.