A new emerging tech is Google Web Stories. I’ll tell you what, one thing you can always count on with technology is that it is always changing. As professionals in the tech industry, we have to stay not just on top of trends, but ahead of them, so we know what will be emerging in the next few months or years. We can then position ourselves to take full advantage of the innovations that come our way, and can pass the benefits of that knowledge to our clients.
I want to focus on for this article is something for free from Google. About two years ago, Google supported a new AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology called Stories for the Web. That has now morphed into Google Web Stories. Even though it is not even in its final version yet, you can get in in Beta test form to familiarize yourself with this product. To download, go to Stories Github Page and download the plugin, then install on WordPress.
What are Google Web Stories?
These Google Web Stories are meant consumed in small chunks The stories should be created with mobile users in mind. Imagine the end user watching it on a lunch break or waiting for the subway.
Google calls these kinds of stories Snackable Content. Each page has a picture or video, ideally with a vertical orientation to optimize watching it on a cell phone. Images are king. A maximum of 10 words per page are allowed, with a recommended range of four and 30 pages. Each video should be less than 15 seconds in length and all images should have captions. I believe this is so consumers can snack on this content even in noisy environments.
Since Web Stories have their own URL, they can be found and indexed by Google, so a big plus for SEO. You can display them on your web page also, just by putting them in an iframe.
Why do we need this?
Why would Google put out a new storytelling format? Because Google, as a company, is smart. They are not even staying ahead of the trends, they are creating the trends. There is no clear cut answer to the question about how constant use of technology changes our brains. Our brains are wonderfully plastic (called Neuro-plasticity) and change as a result of interaction with the environment. When the environment changes, our brains change. And wow, has the environment changed a lot in the last decade or so.
Just because we have a lot more screen time now, does that mean that we are inherently dumber? Is that why Google is rolling out Google Web Stories? Because technology and vast amounts of screen time each day have dumbed us down, and now we need more pictures and way less words? Not necessarily. I think that Google is not so much being responsive to our changing brains as our changing environment. In 2018 a study showed that Americans looked at their cell phones an average of 52 times per day. In 2020, a mere two years later, that number went up to 96 times per day, or an average of once every 10 minutes. We are a mobile society, and we are busy. So it only makes sense to have a Web Story format that we can look at on our phones, at all times of day, in all sorts of environments no matter how quiet or how noisy. We might glance at something for a minute after we order our food and before the drinks come. We might snack on some content on the subway while waiting for the next stop.
Whether it’s Google Web Stories or any kind of tech, I urge all of us to stay on top of, or even in front of, emerging trends in technology so we can pass our knowledge on to our deserving clients.