Google’s ‘AMP for Email’ – Really Cool or Terrible Idea?

Earlier this week, Google announced it is bringing its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology to Gmail to create more engaging and interactive experiences with email.  With over 1 billion users and the 2nd most popular email client globally, Google’s goal with AMP is to modernize Gmail and create new possibilities for dynamic and interactive email.   

Access to this feature, eloquently called ‘AMP for Email’, is currently available to developers through the Gmail Developer Preview, and access can be requested to start building and testing your very own dynamic emails. Even better, AMP for Email is an open spec allowing other email clients to adopt it, scaling the possibilities of bringing interactive email to the masses. 

“AMP started as an effort to help publishers, but as its capabilities have expanded over time, it’s now one of the best ways to build rich webpages,” Aakash Sahney, Gmail Product Manager said. “With this came the opportunity to modernize one of the most popular places where people spend their time: email.”

In short, what this means is that the solution can allow users to take actions such as RSVP’ing for an event, browsing & shipping current inventory, or completing a survey without ever leaving the email. The real power with AMP is that it will also “make it possible for information to easily kept up-to-date, so emails never get stale and the content is accurate when a user looks at it,” according to Sahney.  

Pretty cool right? Well, like most innovation and changes coming out of Google like the Gmail tabs, native unsubscribe link, and TLS red padlock icon, not everyone seems to be jumping for joy.  

A recent TechCrunch article provided a point of view as to why AMP for Email is a terrible idea. The article argues that this feature is one made for competitive business reasons and not in the best interest of its users. The author, Devin Coldewey, uses analogies like sidewalks, electrical outlets, and forks to explain their specific purpose, longevity, and simplicity in comparing why email should remain the way it is designed today.  

“AMP is, to begin with, Google exerting its market power to extend its control over others’ content. Facebook is doing it, so Google has to,” Coldeway said. “Using its privileged position as the means through which people find a great deal of content, Google is attempting to make it so that the content itself must also be part of a system it has defined.” 

It’s an interesting take, and well worth the full read.  What is your opinion on this new feature? From my vantage point, Google has demonstrated over the years that levering the popularity of Gmail and the amount of time user spend in their email client, is a valuable strategy for Google as a business. Whether those benefits are skewed towards the end user’s needs vs. the overall business is up for debate.

Either point of view you may have, one thing is for certain. When news comes out of Google about changes or innovation to Gmail, the industry and marketers pay close attention.
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Anthony Chiulli
Associate Principal, Deliverability Services
eec Member Advisory Committee (Board) Member