Chrome’s position on the ESCAPE workshop

Jeffrey Yasskin, Chrome team, 2019-06-05

I have been developing the Web Packaging specifications that live in As of June 2019, Chrome has shipped an initial version of “Signed Exchanges” and is working on an implementation of “Bundles”. Once the whole system is implemented, we expect it to allow publishers to sign bundles of content that can be distributed to customers in a variety of new ways, including peer-to-peer and via potentially-untrusted distributor websites, some of which will be large aggregators like Google or Facebook.

We expect this new distribution system to have several positive effects in connecting publishers with their readers:

While designing Web Packaging and planning for future deployment, the Chrome team wants to make technical decisions that bias the web’s evolution away from centralization as much as possible, even if that reduces Google’s influence. In order to do that, we need to identify concrete mechanisms by which this new distribution system might cause centralization or decentralization of, or shift power between, aggregators, CDNs, publishers, advertisers, end-users, and other kinds of entities. For example:

It seems unlikely that any decisions we make in a packaging or distribution system will affect the considerations aggregators use when deciding how to rank recommendations or the power this gives them over publishers. A new packaging system is likely to change the details of how those considerations apply: for example, if packaged content loads faster, the existing preference for fast content may lead to higher rankings for publishers that can package their content.

In this workshop, we’re hoping to learn about other centralizing or decentralizing mechanisms that the publishing community is aware of, and to make sure we build a system that serves users', authors', and publishers' needs.