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18 September 2018
Google's Takes Aim At Reddit AMA With New Cameo App
Google is the gateway to the internet for most of us, and they're not planning on letting their supremacy stop any time soon. Each time a new trend emerges, they'll jump on it and while they didn't have much success in the social media space, with um sorry Google+ it doesn't mean they've given up on social entirely.
Google instead is looking at finding innovative ways to integrate social media behaviour with search, and this has lead to the development of Cameo.
Cameo is the latest app from the big G and for now, its exclusive use is for celebrities and public figures. The app allows them to record video responses to questions that are frequently asked in Google’s search results.
The new app is designed to help celebs and public figures ensure people are getting accurate information about them from Google search, similar to what Amazon is doing with flash briefings.
“Cameos on Google lets you be the authority on you. Record video answers to the most asked questions on Google and then post them right to Google. Now, when people search for you, they’ll get answers directly from you.”
Cameo has been in the works for some time
Cameos is a natural progression for Google as it is actually an expansion of a feature that was introduced last year as a pilot project, where video responses from celebrities were embedded into mobile search results.
Initially, the feature was rolled out with only a limited number of celebrities. Now it’s available to anyone who qualifies after submitting an application.
This new feature is an extension of Google’s “Posts on Google” platform, which has allowed a small number of celebrities, sports teams and movie studios to post directly to Google’s search pages. Google posts included text, images, video, GIFs, events, and links to other sites. In a way, it’s like Google’s version of Twitter – but with the goal of helping web searchers find answers to questions.
How are questions answered
Google will source the most popular searches based on certain celebrities and then present the individual with popular questions about themselves.
They can then provide a video response however they want. So far, celebs have mostly been providing self-shot videos using the front-facing camera on their phones.
Responses recorded using the Cameos app will appear in the search results, and may also appear in the home feed of the Google app to people who have been identified as fans.
“All your answers get posted right to Google and your fans will see it when they search for you or scroll through their feed in the Google app.”
Also, Cameos highlights a “stay relevant and fresh” mantra, as the app will push celebrities with new questions and searches to ensure that their Google-related content will be up to date, and leave out any potential misinformation provided from other websites sourced from a Google search.
Cameos will be much more publicly visible and have the potential to expand Google's prowess as a social networking tool.
Note: If you do not see this feature in your feed yet don't panic. The video responses will only show up on mobile devices for people in the US.
Taking a page from Reddit's book
The Cameo app looks like Google attempt to once again keep users on SERPs longer and rely on Google itself rather than redirecting to 3rd party sites.
This could see a sizable chunk of traffic lost to celebrity content sites as well as Reddit. Social media site Reddit’s has been a hit with its' AMA “Ask Me Anything” subreddit which allows celebrities to answer questions posted by users.
I've personally used this feature and asked Gordon Ramsey "Where's the lamb sauce?" to which he replied, "I will look for it in the next season of Hell's Kitchen."
Google's attempt to disrupting social media
In addition to trying to take a chunk of Reddit's traffic, this feature could also be a response to Instagram. The feature is slightly reminiscent of Instagram's Questions sticker that was released back in July.
Instagram users can add Questions widget to their Instagram Story, and users can solicit questions from their followers. The recipient can then select the questions they want to respond to, and post their replies publicly to their Instagram Story.
A potential drop in traffic
While Cameo's may seem like a fun way for users to engage with their favourite celebrities, it could be a field test for something much larger on the cards. Cameos may start with adding your favourite celebrities and sports stars but if successful whats to say Google will not roll this feature out to politicians, and even local businesses. Having users questions instantly answered in Google could see users clicking out of SERP's even less.
We've already seen this in effect with all the rich snippets rolling across a range of search queries, and it looks like a strategy Google wants to push for long-term growth. Having users remain in Google even longer will increase the number of searches, which means they can increase the number of ads served. Cameo videos could also prove to be a new source of real estate which Google can monetise with ads in the future.
How to get into
For those interested, Google’s new “Cameos” is currently available now for iOS at the App Store. However, it requires access to be granted.
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