“Stories” are sweeping the tech world. First, there were Snapchat Stories, soon followed by Facebook and Instagram. Now, Google is launching a developer preview of what it calls AMP Stories, which is its take on the popular format.
Google’s AMP Stories will show up in what Google does best: Search results. If you search for a publication like CNN or the Washington Post, you’ll see curated content from that publication. It could simply be a slideshow of photos, or it could be videos, or other “visually rich of storytelling specifically designed for mobile,” according to Google.
It makes sense to include the new feature under the AMP, or Accelerate Mobile Pages project. The project is designed specifically to speed up the web on mobile, and has so far been focused on news articles, which are stripped down and served up in an easy-to-digest format. Often, the articles will load instantly on mobile, and they could even be pre-cached so that when you tap on them, they’ll immediately show up.
So how does that relate to the new Stories feature? Well, similar to how articles can be stripped down and pre-loaded through AMP, Stories could do the same. When you search something, the content could load before you even tap on it, so that if and when you do, it will show up quickly and easily.
Of course, there are some major differences between this and AMP articles. For starters, AMP articles generally appear on websites before they become AMP articles — so the content isn’t really exclusive to Google. That, however, seems to be different for AMP Stories, which may not show up anywhere else.
Initially, there is a short list of publishers working with Google on AMP Stories. These include the likes of CNN, Conde Nast, Mashable, Mic, Vox Media, and The Washington Post. Also, according to a report from The Verge, Google has paid an amount of money to the publishers working on AMP Stories — though it seems that’s aimed at being more of a development fund than simply a payment for partnering with Google on the new project.
The feature is rolling out now, and to check out the Stories for yourself, you can head to the AMP Stores search page on your mobile browser, and search for one of the publishers included — though when we tried it we couldn’t see any AMP Stories just yet. Eventually, Google will likely roll the feature out more widely within search, and more publishers will get on board. Eventually, the feature could take on a similar format to selfie-style answers feature it recently announced for celebrities.