In a move to unify news publishing platforms, Facebook on Thursday announced that it is adding support for Google AMP and Apple News to its Instant Articles platform. Publishers will now be able to create a single Instant Article article that can be published as Google AMP and Apple News articles as well. Facebook also laid emphasis on how this move will let the publishers cut costs on building different versions for three different platforms. While the Instant Articles SDK extension is available for Google AMP, it will be rolled out for Apple News in the “coming weeks.”
Since its Instant Articles were introduced in 2015, Facebook has been competing with Google AMP and Apple News – rival Web and app publishing standards. Facebook’s newly introduced extension to the open source software development kit (SDK) will allow publishers to create Instant Articles to generate the code, needed to build other formats for Google AMP and Apple News, removing the resource-heavy step for doing the latter in the meantime.
“The SDK already enables developers to easily integrate publishing Instant Articles into their content management systems. By supporting a gateway to generate content across platforms, we’re also making it easy for publishers to apply some of the custom styling templates in AMP and Apple News that they have created in the Instant Articles Style Editor,” notes Piyush Mangalick, Partner Engineering Director at Facebook in a company’s blog post. The common Instant Articles code will also have custom formats, like fonts, colours, and captions, that the markup publishers have designed in Facebook’s Style Editor to be mirrored on other new platforms as well
Facebook has been striving to gain new users for its video platform, with the aim to compete with the rivals like YouTube. Now, Facebook says that it is considering news dissemination through its platform seriously as the new SDK has come out as a brainchild of “meaningful conversations with publishers as part of the Facebook Journalism Project to better serve the needs of news publishers and readers on Facebook.” Major publishers like The New York Times and The Guardian recently opted out of Facebook’s Instant Articles as its business model stopped being appealing to them.
As we said, the SDK extension is now available for Google AMP articles while the compatibility support for Apple News “will be ready in the coming weeks.”