After launching the developer preview of accelerated mobile pages or AMP for email last year, Google announced its general availability yesterday. For utilizing AMP for email, you do not have to be restricted to Gmail as other major email providers including Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com, and Mail.Ru have also added support for AMP.
What is AMP for email?
AMP for email aims to take the simple text emails to the next level by making them interactive and engaging, which Google calls “dynamic emails”, like web pages without having the user to hit the browser. AMP for email promises that users will now be able to actually get things done within the email. For instance, users will be able to take actions like RSVP to an event, fill out a questionnaire, browse a catalog, or respond to a comment.
AMP emails are designed to be compatible with the current email ecosystem using a new MIME part called “text/x-amp-html”. AMP for email supports many a subset of AMP markups, which includes carousels, forms, and lists. Also, if an email provider does not support AMP emails, it allows emails to fallback to HTML.
How users and developers are reacting to this?
Since the AMP initiative was first announced, it has faced criticism by many, so much so that there is a Twitter account named “GoogleAMPSucks”. Google AMP for email has also sparked a huge discussion on Hacker News. Many users think that this opens up an alternate channel for sending ads to users. One user commented, “Google is looking for alternative channels to sell ads through. Adding more complicated media to email increases the type of ads that can be sold. It won’t be right away, but it’s coming.”
AMP for email provides senders new ways to revise the information in an email they have already sent. This will make emails mutable which is a concern for many users. Explaining how this feature can be misused, one of the users on Hacker News, said, “Sent an ad claiming that you had a given price for a full week, and then decided you didn’t want to sell it for that anymore two days later? Handy that you can remove all evidence of your advertisement after you sent it.”
Bron Gondwana, CEO of FastMail, also believes that the immutable behavior of emails is, in fact, its strength. He wrote in a blog post, “The email in your mailbox is your copy of what was said, and nobody else can change it or make it go away. The fact that the content of an email can’t be edited is one of the best things about POP3 and IMAP email standards. I admit it annoyed me when I first ran into it – why can’t you just fix up a message in place – but the immutability is the real strength of email. You can safely forget the detail of something that you read in an email, knowing that when you go back to look at it, the information will be exactly the same.”
To read the official announcement, check out Google’s blog.