Monday, August 20News That Matters

Google's new celebrity video app is basically AMA for search


A look at Google's new Cameos app
A look at Google’s new Cameos app
Image: google
2016%2f09%2f16%2f8f%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lza3.c1888By Karissa Bell

Google’s making it easier for celebrities to control what appears in their search results.

Thursday, the search giant released a new app called Cameos, which lets celebs record vertical full-screen video answers to commonly searched-for questions about them.

Google has opened the app up to an array of musicians, athletes, and other public figures. Those who have access can choose from a set of common Google questions and record brief video answers. Those videos will then appear at the top of relevant search results.

The concept is similar to a Reddit-style AMA (Ask Me Anything) session, but celebrities can choose to record answers whenever they want.

Though the iOS app was just released, this isn’t new territory for Google. The company has been experimenting with the concept for some time, but the iOS version of Cameos marks the first time the celebrity-facing app has been widely available. (Cameos, by the way, is entirely separate from a different celebrity video app — also called Cameo — which lets people pay celebrities to record short video messages.)

Vertical video with celebrity talking heads may seem more like Snapchat or Instagram territory, but Google’s been experimenting with different ways to make search more personalized and interactive, particularly on mobile. The company launched a new feed feature last year, and more recently launched AMP Stories, a new mobile-friendly format for publishers.

For Cameos, there’s also a considerable upside for participating celebrities. In addition to having another platform to share their influence, being able to control even a small segment of what appears in Google search results is huge. Traditionally determined by Google’s ever-changing algorithms, what appears in the top results of a Google search has long been a frustration for some people. Cameos doesn’t necessarily change that, but it at least gives public figures an opportunity to weigh in on popular questions and take back some control of their presence on Google.

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