This article was published on February 15, 2018

Google becomes the latest tech giant to join the ‘let’s rip off Snapchat’ club

Google becomes the latest tech giant to join the ‘let’s rip off Snapchat’ club

Google this week announced a feature called AMP Stories, a shortform visual medium through which Google could deliver curated news. Within minutes of this announcement, everyone was calling it a copy of Snapchat.

I checked out the feature and, yeah, it’s pretty much Snapchat. Specifically, it’s very similar to Snapchat Discover, which breaks down stories and content into bite-sized visual chunks. It’s also a lot like Twitter’s Moments, which are themselves very similar to Snapchat Discover.

To recap, that means Google joins the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and even Patreon in copying Snapchat. Even Snapchat seems resigned to it, as Nick Bell, Snap’s VP of Content, responded to Google’s Stories by way of TechCrunch:

Our ambition at Snapchat is to empower great storytelling, and we think we have pioneered the best format for doing that on mobile. We’re delighted to see that an industry is starting to form around that, and hope that it will encourage more newsrooms to invest in teams that focus on made-for-mobile content.

The Snapchat toy box has been so thoroughly raided that the few sites left who haven’t done it are starting to look passé.

So here’s my question: Pinterest, Google Plus — when are you getting in on this action?

Pinterest could easily co-opt Snapchat’s short-form visual updates. Maybe it could use a feature that lets people share the twee animal and food pictures for a limited time in a kind of grid? Perhaps a place to post stuff they find immediately appealing but don’t necessarily want to save forever. I would say that sounds like a stretch, but I would never have thought Stories belonged on Facebook, and here we are now.

As for Google Plus (yeah, that still exists), maybe it could open a limited version of the Stories feature to its users, to let them make their own updates with the same visual format as Snapchat Discover.

Snapchat knows it’s only a matter of time before everyone is copying them. Let’s have it happen sooner, rather than later — if only so we can see what the remaining sites come up with.

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