‘Stories’ comes to Google’s iOS and Android apps, offering new opportunities for publishers

Via Google

Google has introduced a Stories feature to its app for iOS and Android. Unlike other social networks’ versions of the temporary picture and video format, Google’s Stories are for publishers rather than consumers.

The takeaways:
  • The Stories will appear in a new carousel within the Google app, where users will be able to tap through picture and video compilations from publishers, according to TechCrunch.
  • Google’s Stories product has been in the works for some time. They first introduced AMP Stories based on technology developed for the company’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project back in 2018.
  • This version is called “Web Stories” by Google rather than AMP Stories. It will be integrated into the Google search app, used by more than 800 million people each month.

Spot the difference: Stories – vertical, mobile-first pictures and videos – originated with Snapchat. At the time, the feature was innovative as people were able to post content from their everyday lives, which would disappear after 24 hours. It was an antidote to the manicured ‘highlights’ posted on other social networks.

  • Instagram copied the feature in 2016, lifting everything including the name. Instagram Stories appears in a secondary feed, which anyone with an Instagram account is able to create and post to. It gave Instagram additional ad inventory at a time when space in the main feed was at a premium.
  • A year later, Instagram’s parent company Facebook also released Stories. However, this has been less successful than Instagram Stories as Facebook’s primary user group skews older. Stories are more familiar to younger people.
  • Linkedin has also recently released its own version of Stories feature in the US after trialing it in selected nations. 

However, Google’s Stories are focused on publisher content, not user content. Google doesn’t have a social network offering any more, having closed Google+ in 2019. 

Worth the effort?

The question for publishers is whether to dedicate the time and resources to creating Stories content.

  • Google has a number of tools available for this. A Web Story editor for WordPress, and a YouTube series dedicated to helping create high-quality Stories are just some examples.
  • If you already have teams dedicated to creating Stories for other platforms, this is worth exploring as the market is still relatively uncrowded.
  • But routes to monetization are still unclear. Google says publishers are in full control of monetization, hosting, links, and sharing. However, this may not be enough to persuade publishing executives to sign off-budget.

The Stories carousel is now available in the US, India, and Brazil. It will soon be expanded to more countries and Google products.

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