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Google Launches ‘Visually Rich’ AMP Stories in Search, Akin to Snapchat Stories

Google has officially launched AMP Stories in its search engine, aiming to let media companies deliver more visually exciting content to mobile devices.

Publishers that have been working with Google on developing AMP Stories for the web include Time Warner’s CNN, Condé Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media, and the Washington Post. The format is based on Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages framework for loading web pages on mobile devices more quickly.

The new format gives publishers “a mobile-focused format for delivering news and information as visually rich, tap-through stories,” Rudy Galfi, product manager for AMP at Google, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. The internet giant’s initial partners on the project are experimenting “with novel ways to tell immersive stories for a diverse set of content categories.”

Conceptually, the AMP Stories format is similar to Snapchat’s Stories, which it first introduced in 2013, which lets users stitch together photos, videos, and text into a clickable sequence of tiles. Others have copied the idea, including Facebook and Instagram.

AMP Stories are live on Google Search starting Tuesday. To try it out, search for one of the participating publishers (e.g., CNN or Washington Post) within g.co/ampstories using a mobile browser. In the future, Google plans to bring AMP Stories to more products across Google and expand the ways they appear in Google Search.

Word of Google’s AMP Stories project first leaked out last summer. With the format, publishers can use images, videos and graphics — with the goal of engaging users more quickly and deeply.

Google said it developed AMP Stories in collaboration with the publishers. AMP Stories are built on the technical infrastructure of AMP, allowing publishers to use techniques like pre-renderable pages, optimized video loading and caching to optimize delivery.

Among the initial wave of publishing partners, Meredith said it would first launch AMP Stories for People, the celebrity/lifestyle brand it obtained after closing the acquisition of Time Inc.

“AMP Stories have extraordinary potential to enhance how we create mobile content,” said Doug Parker, VP of digital design at Meredith. “Our team can easily create beautiful, media-rich stories that our users can now access quickly across the web.”

The AMP Stories format is available for free, open to anyone to use. More info is available at Google’s ampproject.org website.

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