• Season:

Ep. 2, Featuring Alberto Medina from Google

The XWP Tonight Show — Season 1, Ep. 2, Featuring Alberto Media

In this episode of the XWP Tonight show, Amit Sion sits down with Alberto Medina, Developer Relations at Google, to talk about AMP, the future of website performance, and of course, the famous giant gumball machine.

Want to learn more about our work with Google? Check out our case study.

Transcript:

[Intro voice]

Coming to you live from the virtual WordPress theater, this is the XWP Tonight Show. Please join me in welcoming your host, Amit Sion.

Amit

Welcome to the XWP Tonight Show. Tonight our guest is Alberto Medina, streaming live from Silicon Valley from a little startup company called Google. Alberto has been in Developer Relations at Google leading the charge on AMP for WordPress, please join me in welcoming Alberto to the show.

Alberto

How are you Amit? Thank you.

Amit

To begin with, Alberto, let’s talk about AMP. I was told that it stands for accelerated mobile pages, but I’m not allowed to call it that anymore, because it does a lot more than that. What is AMP? And what should web developers know about?

Alberto

So that’s a great question, the way that I like to answer when people ask me what AMP is it to think about what exactly we want to achieve, right. And the most important thing in order to have a great open web forever, is that web creators can succeed on the platform. And success encompasses a variety of aspects that are very difficult to achieve. And you see that sites that actually are very successful, they do all these things very well. Now, one of these aspects that is very important and critical is performance. It’s very challenging to achieve but it’s essential to provide a good user experience. So what AMP is, is a tool and a cost-effective tool to help everyone to achieve good performance levels and a good user experience to their users, regardless of technical expertise, or the resources they have to invest on this. So that’s what AMP is.

Amit

Continuing on from there about performance. What are Core Web Vitals, and why is it important to us?

Alberto

That connects very well, because, I just mentioned in trying to see what AMP does, we mentioned the notion of performance, right? But it is very abstract, what exactly performance is and how do I achieve it? So in order to actually make things more clear and concrete, Google launched an initiative that is called Core Web Vitals. And the goal of this is to create unified and concrete guidance so that everyone knows exactly what good performance is, what are the thresholds and methods that we need to strive for, and they have a way to reason about performance in general. Well, from practical terms, when you hear the term “Core Web Vitals,” you can think three things: one is a set of metrics that allows you to reason about performance and measuring, tools that you need to actually measure the values of the metrics for your site, and then a set of incentives that make it very compelling to everyone to strive for these values. That is what Core Web Vitals is.

Amit

Okay, and continuing on from there. What kind of companies could benefit most from AMP, and how does it benefit the web ecosystem? 

Alberto

That’s an interesting question. Because if you think about AMP, AMP is nothing more. So everything that AMP does is built on open web technologies. HTML, CSS, JavaScript. So in principle, everything that AMP does in the library can be done by a skilled development team. So companies that have a lot of resources and engineering things like Google, for example, they could invest quite a bit of resources in achieving good performance and maintain it. But the less resources you have, and given the fact that achieving high performance is hard, then it’s going to be more difficult for companies to basically tackle the challenge and succeed continuously, sustainably. So in a nutshell, AMP is for everyone, because even if you have good resources or good development teams, reducing development costs or maintenance costs is a good business decision. And if you have less resources, then AMP is an enabler for you to achieve your goals and be able to compete at the even playing field, even if you don’t have tons of money or tons of developers. So AMP is for everyone.

Amit

XWP has been ordered to work with Google for more than three years now. With Google being one of the biggest tech companies in the world, why do you work with XWP?

Alberto

Something that I really like about working for Google is that I had the opportunity to get involved in different challenging projects that are all aimed at making the web better. And many of these projects have a development component, so we need engineering capacity. So I am part of a relatively small team at Google. So we are like a tiny startup inside Google. In order to achieve everything we need to achieve or we want to achieve, sometimes we extend our workforce with engineering teams like XWP that help us achieve our development goal. So the way that I see specifically XWP is that we have developed a working relationship that actually, I feel that XWP engineers are just part of my team, and then we work together on projects. So it’s basically XWP from a perspective of sharing the ecosystem values that we have, and also having the engineering skills that we need is a good symbiosis there or working with XWP.

Amit

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a bunch of Google offices, and they’re all awesome. From the lunches in the Switzerland office, to the gigantic gumball machine that has I think, like 1000 gumballs in your head office in Silicon Valley, what’s one of the coolest things about working at Google?

Alberto

Yeah, that’s an interesting question specifically during these times, because during the whole time that I had been at Google, I have actually experienced being in different offices in different continents, and every office has its own magic. But now with COVID, I have been working from home since we came back from Australia in February from the trip that we went to talk to this publisher, that was awesome. So I have been working from home. And then I realized that this question is related to when people ask me, why did you decide to work for Google In general? And, and I think that the way that I want to answer that is, I am a web advocate, I really care about the health and vibrancy of the web. And I am very lucky to work on a team in which that is the mission that we have. And then working for Google means working for a company that actually has a vested interest in having an open web that is vibrant, that is healthy, that is free, that is modern. And then we get to work on projects that actually serve a purpose that I think is very important for society and for everyone. And I am supported by an organization that cares and has the resources to do that. So I feel that is what I like the most about working for Google more than the perks and the offices, which are very cool. But I guess the younger you are, the better those perks are. 

Amit

I must say for us from XWP, the parts that we really appreciate is that you bring on our services to help build this technology, but we really believe in it as well. So we’re in a great position working with so many different publishers to help promote it. And like we did at the Optimizer event in February together at News Corp, and many things where we encourage our publishers to pay attention to AMP, to Web Stories, to Material Theming, all these things that we’re building together with Google, which we’re so proud of.

Alberto

Yeah, exactly, that’s really good. And I think that that’s very important, specifically for me, every project that I am involved in, and I work with an agency like XWP, we need to share that passion and that sense of ownership of the future of the web together, because that is exactly what matters. And we’re both lucky to work in companies that actually happen to be contributing to this. So I think that we still have a lot of work to do. But if I think we are at an exciting time for the web.

Amit

Finally, I just want to say Alberto, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you these last few years and the work that we’re planning into next year and beyond. And thank you very much for being a guest on the XWP Tonight Show.

Alberto 

Let’s make it happen.

Amit

Thank you and we’ll see you next time.