Google extends AMP with new story format

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) was initiated as a project to improve the performance of mobile web pages. The project has so far mostly focused on making loading and rendering for existing text-heavy articles such as those found on news sites or cooking blogs.

The company is now looking to extend the project beyond this with the launch of the AMP story format.

On mobile, users tend to browse a lot of articles, but only engage with a few in-depth. This is because the majority of articles on the internet are still heavily text-based. AMP stories look to help publishers use more mobile-friendly elements like images, videos and graphics to better engage readers using their handheld devices.

Google and a group of publishers were involved in the early development of the format. These launch partners are CNN, Conde Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media and The Washington Post.

If you want to get a taste for some of these initial AMP stories, you can head here on your mobile and search for one of the launch partners. You should be able to find the AMP stories under the ‘visual stories’ header in the search results.

Free and open

For native apps, creating visual stories that make full use of the mobile medium while also insuring the kind of performance that consumers expect can be difficult. The startup costs of trying to get these kinds of stories right can also be punishingly high, especially for smaller publishers.

AMP stories use the technical infrastructure of AMP, by allowing publishers to host an AMP story HYML page on their site which can be linked to from anywhere on their site. This means that sites can make use of features such as pre-renderable pages, optimised video loading and caching, in order to optimise delivery for users.

The format comes with a number of preset but flexible layout templates, as well as standardised UI controls and features that allow for sharing and adding on additional content.

As part of the launch, the AMP story format is free and open to use. Content creators can access a free tutorial and documentation now.

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