Google is finally adopting the ‘stories’ format… for their search results. And they may be revolutionizing the way we read articles.

What is AMP?

The idea is very similar to what Snapchat did first, and Facebook later copied to every single thing they own (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp). But Google seems to be intent on using it for something no one has before, and admittedly, what they do best — search results.

They’ve been rolling out insider previews of this format they are calling AMP — short for Accelerate Mobile Pages.

This is a new format of articles (for now being referred to as AMP articles or stories) that focuses on rich visual storytelling. A short list of publishers is working with Google to create a set of AMP articles in order to showcase what the format is capable of. Virtually anyone can create AMP stories, but for the moment, Google is only allowing a few white-listed publishers to appear on search results.

It seems publications will be encouraged to create both text articles and an AMP alternative — meaning if you Google search a website or specific subject, you will see AMP stories about it.

The design is clearly mobile-centric, and Google promises it should be a lot faster than most web pages. And despite the focus on mobile, Google also promises it will work across any devices, including desktop computers.

How it works

The set of visual storytelling tools for creation is still unclear, but more or less predictable if you’ve used Instagram Stories or Snapchat before: publishers can use videos or photos to create engaging slideshows with short snippets of information. They can also add tappable interactions, links, animations, and customised text. Of course, despite the similar tools, the focus for AMP is to share useful information, akin to what a full-fledged article would do, but a lot faster.

In the long term, the implications are grand. News outlets can benefit greatly from this format, given how they can share urgent or important news quickly and in a visually interesting way, with just the necessary amount of text, complimented by images, motion graphics, and videos — all in one place.

And yes, we’re all thinking the same thing: could this format make written articles outdated, or worse, irrelevant?

It’s soon to be that dramatic, but for better or for worse, Google may have just revolutionized the way we read articles.

See for yourself

If you want to see some of the published AMP stories for yourself, try heading to Google and searching one of the publishers already working with them:

  • CNN
  • Mashable
  • Mic
  • Vox Media
  • The Verge
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • Wired

If you don’t see any AMP results, don’t worry, Google is still deploying and it may not show up right away. Instead, go to the AMP Project website to read articles the “new way”.

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