Google and Facebook envision Stories for news, not social

Google and Facebook envision Stories for news, not social
From TechCrunch - August 4, 2017

Stories taught us the joy of dictating the pace of content consumption. We fast-forward in 10-second increments, with a quick trigger finger let loose the moment we get bored. Thats why soon, endlessparagraphs of text and time-consuming videos might not be the only ways to get our news.

This week, signs were revealed suggesting both Facebook and Google believe Snapchats Stories slideshow format could work well for sharing news. Snapchat has offered Discover channels for publishers to connect with teens since 2015, but its relatively small audience and mobile-only format limits its appeal and reach. Now the juggernauts of journalism distribution have a different dream for the future of Stories.

TechCrunch first reported that Facebook has started letting public figures share Stories to their followers, not just friends. While Pages arent allowed to make Stories yet, this feature already allows individual journalists to string together photos and videos to create immersive slideshows from the field or office.

We also broke news that Facebook is now testing Stories viewing on desktop. Its also testingStories that let you go Live, which could be useful for breaking news publishers if they get access.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported today thatGoogle is preparing to soon launch Stamp, which combines Snapchats Stories format with Googles own Accelerated Mobile Pages. It will let news outlets share slideshows of photos, videos and text that appear in search results, but also can be hosted on a publishers website.

Stories beyond teens

The Facebook updates seemed a little perplexing, considering critics have panned Facebook Stories as obtrusive and unnecessary. Facebook already has the extraordinarily popular Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status products that each see 250 million daily users.

But Facebook Stories make more sense if you think of them as a news-focused complement to Instagram Stories. Because Instagram is all about visual sharing and has long-forbid links outside of Stories, it hasnt emerged as a journalism powerhouse like Facebook with its links and Trends and Instant Articles. Facebook could open Stories to publishers, and hope their content will make its Stories more popular and lure users into sharing their social Stories there, too.

Google, on the other hand, seems ready to leapfrog past social Stories entirely to focus on Stamp. That may be wise, as its historically been terrible at social products like the flopped Google+, Buzz and Wave, plus its mess of fragmented messaging apps.

Google reportedly floated a $30 billion offer to acquire Snapchat both in 2016 and just before its IPO this year, Business Insider reported yesterday. Axios Dan Primack and one of TechCrunchs own sources heard of Googles interest in Snap, too. Yet Snaps fiercely independent CEO Evan Spiegel has shown no interest in selling, emboldened by Snaps continued ascent after he rejected a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook in 2013.

Owning the next journalism platform shift


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