Google Labs readies Instagram Stories clone for search results

Google Search results are about to become a bit more social, as the company’s next Labs experiment is an Instagram Stories clone to add public “Notes” about particular webpages.

It’s been something of a running joke in the past 10 years that every app will inevitably launch its own version of “Stories,” a core feature of Snapchat that has since cropped up in many other apps. Instagram launched its popular clone of Stories in 2016. Twitter, now X, briefly experimented with “Fleets.” And even apps with less of a social focus, like Spotify and YouTube, have included Stories-like features.

It seems Google Search will be the next app to go down the path of launching a take on the idea of Stories. Spotted in part by @AssembleDebug, the Google Search app is preparing a way to create Stories-like posts. Our APK Insight team also enabled this first look at the feature, which allows you to place text, images, and stickers on a Material You-inspired background.

Rather than being related to any of the existing posting capabilities Google offers – like its Web Stories initiative and the business-oriented Posts on Google – this will be a new way to interact with Google Search results. Our first sign of this comes from the template’s default text, shown below.

What did you think of this link? Keep it friendly and helpful

A close reading of the code tells us that these posts – referred to as “Notes” – will allow people to leave public commentary on individual webpages that appear in Google Search results. One example use case, laid out by in-app text, is that you may want to add a Note on the quality of a particular recipe or share the tweaks you used to improve it. You could also share a picture of how your attempt at the dish came out.

Type or speak and make your recipe or cooking tip come alive

When browsing a page in the Google app’s default browser, you’ll have an option to “Add Note.” It’s not yet clear where you’ll be able to find Notes written by others, but each Note will be published for others to see once it’s been properly moderated. As you’d expect from a social feature, you’ll also be able to like/heart another person’s Note.

Once you post, your profile picture and name will be visible to other Google users. Personal details like your email address won’t be public.

Not every page that can be found in Google Search is permitted to have Notes. Specifically, pages with medical information or those with pornographic or violent content are barred from Notes.

This also may be just the beginning of Google’s plans for social features. When setting up your public-facing profile (currently solely consisting of a name and image) for the first time, you’ll be asked whether you want to receive updates about the “Google Search community.”

Send me emails about the Google Search community, including insights, tips and more.

A source familiar with the company’s plans tells us that Notes should arrive as a new Google Labs experiment as soon as next month across Android and iOS.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: