Google and Twitter have gotten together to work on a new feature of “instant articles” that will help publishers get to people through the big technology companies apps creating a faster web. According to a Re/code report, the plan will be launched this fall with a small group of publishers.
The report, based on the information shared by unidentified sources familiar with the matter, will aim to distribute the content on mobile phones easier and faster than before. The feature will work as Facebook’s Instant Article, which allows users to view content from publishers without leaving the app.
Some leading publishers, like The New York Times and The Guardian, will work with the team. It is also said that Google and Twitter will try to convince other tech companies to adopt the platform. Pinterest is up to the list.
The main differences
The plan is a response to the similar features that big platforms, like Facebook, Sanpchat and Apple, have created. However, to compete against the giants, the project would have important differences.
First of all, Google and Twitter will create their publishing tools to be open to other tech companies to adopt it, but will not present the project as a branded product. Internally, they describe the plan as accelerated mobile pages. “The world needs an answer to proprietary instant articles, and Twitter and Google could provide it,” said a person familiar with the companies’ thinking, according to the report.
Secondly, Google and Twitter will not host publishers’ content, but will show users cached web pages from the publisher’s site. This doesn’t mean a big difference for users, but it is for publishers and especially for Google, which is vulnerable to charges for hosting more content instead of sending the users to other sites.
In third place, Google will give the adds more value, for cached Web pages will display, next to the story, the original ads the publisher sold. That’s important for Google because Facebook takes up a big amount of revenue from the mobile ad market.
Why so much pressure?
Google and Twitter have no plans to become archaic and lose money, but they are way back from other social media and technology companies in the publisher’s game.
Since January, Snapchat has introduced a new feature call Discover. According to its blog, the project was a result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling that puts the narrative first with screen photos and videos. This was very innovative, for social media companies, like Twitter, usually shows the most recently or popular news or stories.
After a couple of months, Snapchat changed its design to give more priority to its Discover section. The reason? to make more money. Working with partners like MTV, Cosmopolitan, People, National Geographic, and Yahoo boost revenues that come from the advertisements running around the stories these companies published through the app.
On the other site, Facebook introduced in May its feature Instant Articles, which is a way for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook. Its launch parties are mainly The New York Times, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, NBC News, BBC News, and others. These companies are interested in Facebook, for no news publisher can claim to have an audience as big as 1.25 billion users.
Moreover, these publishers keep all of the revenue on ads they sell directly, while when the ads are sold by Facebook, the revenue is shared.