When Snapchat released its innovative Stories feature in 2013, the entire social media world paid attention. Three years later, Facebook released what many dubbed a blatant copy with Instagram Stories and now Google appears to be taking inspiration from the same feature with AMP Stories.
It might not be the most original idea Google’s ever had and there clearly wasn’t much overtime spent on coming up with the name but there is a key difference between Snapchat’s original stories innovation and Google’s AMP implementation. While Snapchat users are accustomed to watching the daily antics of their college mates through Stories, Google users will be getting AMP Stories from publishers like Vox and the Washington Post.
AMP stories will create a more visual results page
You can see the official explanation of AMP Stories by visiting the AMP Project website, which already has a whole bunch of major publishers on board – including CNN, Mashable, Wired and Vox Media.
While we still don’t know exactly how Google plans to integrate these into search, it seems the tech giant is keen to incorporate them more heavily into mobile search results, although AMP Stories is compatible with desktop, too. Here’s a hint of what the final product looks like:
Much like Snapchat Stories, the idea is to incorporate full-screen visuals into the AMP mix. Here’s what Google the AMP team has to say about the “visual storytelling format” that’s making its way to Google Search:
“AMP stories immerse readers in tappable, full-screen content. Building on the possibilities of the AMP project, this format enables the creation of visual content that is fast, open, and user-first.”
Of course, AMP Stories will come with all the speed advantages AMP is famous for and the usual criticisms about it that we’ve mentioned enough times on this blog before. Either way, there’s no denying the new feature looks like an engaging experience that could drastically change the way people interact with Google Search.
Don’t get too excited (yet)
If you’re excited by the prospect of AMP Stories, you might find reality falls short of your expectations. Even once they’re implemented into the search process, the major problem for publishers will be creating AMP Stories. There’s WISYWIG tool or drag-and-drop editor to help you create AMP Stories; you have to code the pages yourself from scratch, including all the animation magic that makes them appealing.
This isn’t a major challenge for developers who have worked with AMP before but it’s not something anyone can do and it won’t be a ten minute job.
So, aside from the major publishers that are jumping on board, it’s hard to see how AMP Stories will be accessible to most businesses. Unless, of course, Google can come up with a tool that makes the process easier, or we see some third-party platforms that simplify things (eg: WordPress plugins).