Google evolves AMP with visually rich multimedia stories

Cesar Mills
February 14, 2018

AMP's new story-focused format is aimed at helping publishers grab and keep readers' attention with more "immersive and easily consumable visual information", AMP product manager Rudy Galfi said in a Google Developers blog post today. Stories, a format pioneered by Snapchat, has literally been cloned by the who's who of social media - Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp. And modernizing email with AMP could have some interesting effects. "Our team can easily create handsome, media-rich stories that our users can now access quickly across the web", said Doug Parker, Vice President of Digital Design at Meredith.

Google has already released the developer preview of AMP for Gmail and expects many developers to work with it. Google is introducing a similar way of delivering stories to AMP, the search engine's custom platform for rendering articles on smartphones.

Prior to that in 2016, the company rolled out their "AMP" (Accelerated Mobile Page) technology, an "open standard" that webmasters could take advantage of to make their pages load more quickly and efficiently for mobile users.

The AMP extension in question is simply called Stories. From there, you can choose from one of the following publications now already working with Google on the project: CNN, Mic, SBNation, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Wired, People, or Mashable. At present, AMP Stories do not support advertising, which could be a turn off for some publishers looking to monetise every piece of content they create. CNN, Conde Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media and The Washington Post are the very first batch of publications that are using the new AMP Stories format.

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But the real hope is that the new format will drive additional traffic to publisher sites. There are no ads in AMP stories, which hints towards a distraction-free tool for Google users. "Getting these key details right often poses prohibitively high startup costs, particularly for small publishers".

For now, if you want to try an AMP story, head here and search for one by the launch partners. Stories can also include passages of text, videos and animated GIFs and stickers. AMP Stories are now only viewable on smartphones, but Google wants to expand them to desktops and laptops in the near future.

It's also still unclear how Google will surface these stories in search and how publishers can ensure that they'll be included here.

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