Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google is reportedly exploring a technology that’s similar to Snapchat’s “Discover”, dubbed “Stamp” by the company. Snapchat’s Discover shows short bursts of media content interspersed with advertisements. The name Stamp is a play on an existing Google product, Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, that allows for faster loading of online news stories. The “St” in Stamp stands for “stories.”
The technology would let publishers create visual-oriented media content that could be loaded as several swipeable slides. The new feature could be revealed as soon as next week. The technology could potentially be very attractive to advertisers. The type of advertising that might be featured in Stamp articles is still being figured out, according to sources familiar with the program.
Google is reportedly talking to several publishers about the technology, including Vox Media, CNN, Mic, The Washington Post and Time. Details of the financial arrangements between Google and the publishers have not been disclosed. A Google spokeswoman said, “Ever since the beginning of AMP we’ve constantly collaborated with publishers, and are working on many new features.”
Publishers say producing and formatting content for Google is a priority because of the company’s ability to widely distribute content. Google’s service would be tied into the company’s search product, giving publishers a big built-in audience for their content. The stories could also be surfaced on publishers’ own sites, a model that is different from Snapchat. The move is consistent with Google’s focus on the open web.
Tech firms are looking to fill their own apps with news, entertainment, sports and other content and are racing to develop publishing tools to accomplish this. Such tools have to be faster and easier to use than a web browser and create an interesting experience for users. In addition to Snapchat, Facebook Inc. has its Instant Articles platform and Apple Inc. has the Apple News app.
Snap shares fell sharply after the reports emerged. Both Snap and Google make the majority of their revenue from advertising. A Google spokesperson said of the reports, “We don’t have anything to announce at the moment but look forward to sharing more soon.”
Google is only the latest tech giant to adopt features similar to Snap’s. Facebook and its Instagram platform have been imitating many of the company’s features over the past year. Snap’s ability to push media content to younger users is a big value proposition of the app. The increased competition has made some investors question its ability to continue to grow.