Google’s AMP for emails will change the way people interact on Gmail



Email is still the most popular mode of communication when people have to share extensive and long-form messages. However, the way people interact with emails hasn’t changed a lot. Most of the visual content in emails such as embedded webpages or newsletters are still not actionable without going to the parent website.

Google wants to change that and make emails more interactive by extending the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support to email clients. The company is planning to incorporate it in Gmail sometime in 2018 and has released the developer preview of AMP for emails on GitHub, a leading software development platform, to let developers play around with it.

Introduced in 2015 for webpages, AMP is an open source format which allows developers to create a data friendly alternative to standard webpages. It is also more flexible, allowing publishers and developers to present their content differently.

Google claims webpages based on AMP load faster and use 10 times less data, as it doesn’t allow extension to slow down page rendering. AMP for web browser has been a huge hit among social media sites, publishing houses, advertisers and e-commerce sites. Baidu, New York Times, US Xpress and Twitter are some of the early adopters of AMP for webpages.

AMP in emails will allow developers to embed AMP pages inside the email body. This will allow users to access many features within the email, so they won’t have to go to the parent website, in case they need more details. Also, the emails will load faster. For example, an email from Pinterest will let users browse through photos, find more details on them and save the favourite ones without leaving the email page. Similarly, users will be able to browse through hotel rooms, new offers and compare prices on within an email.

A lot of phishing attacks have been carried out through emails. To protect users, Google has assured that it will allow a conservative subset of AMP functionality and will use a new AMP-HTML email validation spec. This means AMPs in emails won’t ask users to share any personal data on them. So an AMP email sent by a travel booking website will only allow users to browse through the features, while for booking and payment they will have to go to the webpage.

Google is also testing a new feature called AMP Stories on Google Search app. Inspired by Snapchat Stories feature, this new tool will allow publishers to present their stories in the form of slideshows involving GIFs and full page photos. Users can browse through the stories by tapping or swiping on the screen.livemint