Google Just Threw Its Hat Into the Stories Ring With the Launch of AMP Stories

The format is open-sourced and available to all publishers

AMP Stories were developed with load speed in mind. Google
Headshot of David Cohen

Google kicked its Accelerated Mobile Pages initiative up a notch and took its seat at the Stories table with today’s announcement of the launch of AMP Stories.

In the same vein as Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, the new AMP Stories combine text, images, videos and graphics.

AMP stories were also developed with load speed in mind, much like mobile sites that already incorporate the Google AMP framework, as well as Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Readers can sample AMP Stories via their mobile browsers here or by searching on their mobile devices for the publishers involved in the early development of the feature— CNN, Condé Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media and The Washington Post.

Searching for any of those publishers brings up a tab for “Top Stories From,” followed by a tab for “Visual Stories From,” and AMP Stories are listed under the latter.

While the AMP Stories format is geared toward mobile, Google also adapted the mobile experience to desktop so that users can share and view content via multiple devices, and examples of AMP Stories on desktop are available on the initiative’s website, toward the bottom of the homepage.

Product manager for AMP Rudy Galfi said that while AMP Stories do not support advertising at launch, Google plans to allow publishers to insert ads within their content, with the publishers keeping 100 percent of the revenue. He added, “Advertising is very important. Really great reporting and journalism needs to be funded somehow.”

Galfi said the aim is to engage “big stakeholders, including the ad-tech community,” adding that AMP Stories “should make for a really engaging ad format.”

Galfi said today’s launch is geared toward getting publishers on board, which is why AMP Stories aren’t featured prominently, adding that it was “too early to say how it’s going to ultimately look in search for a consumer-oriented launch. We are building awareness and getting people to provide feedback, and then we’ll figure out how this will start to appear.”

The publishers listed above were paid for their efforts, and Galfi did not detail specific terms, but he said in a blog post that reporters, illustrators, designers, producers and video editors all collaborated on the effort, and he added, “It’s tricky for publishers, particularly small ones, to experiment or publish these types of stories. How can AMP be applied to specific models of storytelling? [The process] necessitates close involvement of creative minds, journalists and other people at news organizations.”

The AMP Story format is open-sourced and free for use by all publishers, large and small, with a tutorial available here and documentation here.

Galfi said Google wanted this content to “live on the open web, hosted by publishers” and be indexable, searchable content, and he added in the blog post that the AMP Stories format offers publishers preset but flexible layout templates, standardized user interface controls and components for sharing and adding follow-on content, saying, “As with all content in the AMP ecosystem, discovery platforms can employ techniques like pre-renderable pages, optimized video loading and caching to optimize delivery to the end-user.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.