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Google is following Instagram and Snapchat with a big push into Stories

Everyone loves Stories. Everyone including Google.

Google exec Cathy Edwards onstage
Google exec Cathy Edwards presented at a press event in San Francisco on September 24, 2018.
Kurt Wagner

Google is pushing deeper into Stories, the photo and video montages that Snapchat created and Facebook popularized after it copied the format into all of its apps.

Google, which has allowed some publishers to create Stories since February, is going to start using artificial intelligence to create its own Stories that will appear in Google search and image results.

At the start, Google will create these Stories around “notable people—like celebrities and athletes,” according to a company blog post — though eventually they will expand into other categories. The company will curate the Stories using artificial intelligence technology but will have human moderators check Stories to make sure there aren’t any glaring mistakes or issues.

“We’re doubling down on Stories in search,” said Cathy Edwards, Google’s head of engineering for image search, at a press event in San Francisco on Monday. She added that Google will be “announcing more” about Stories in the next few months.

Google’s vote of confidence in Stories is yet another signal that the relatively new format is here to stay. It’s been incredibly popular on Facebook-owned apps like Instagram and WhatsApp. More than 400 million people use Instagram Stories every single day, more people than use Snapchat or Twitter. WhatsApp’s version of Stories, called Status, has 450 million daily users.

The obvious challenge moving forward is how to turn all that user interest and attention into actual revenue. In the case of Facebook and Snap, the companies sell advertising within Stories. Facebook, though, has admitted that Stories is more popular with users than advertisers — at least for now. Most ads inside Stories are vertical video ads, a relatively new format that will require more time for advertisers to create. Google isn’t putting any ads inside Stories for now, though it certainly seems likely it will at some point down the line.

In any case, Stories is clearly taking over as a dominant, if not the dominant, way people are sharing online.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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