It’s been a year since Google announced AMP support would be coming to its email apps and web clients, and the rollout has finally started. (A handful of other email providers have joined the cause as well.)
AMP — short for “Accelerated Mobile Pages” — is being hyped as the next big step for email, akin to how RCS is the next big step for mobile carrier text messages (also backed by Google, naturally). It has been around since 2015 or so, and has traditionally been used to help developers build faster, more responsive websites.
AMP can also make email messages more interactive and helpful. Instead of emails being a static container of text, images, links, and maybe an attachment or two, developers can create AMP-based emails that act like self-contained web pages; you won’t have to open a new browser tab or app to complete tasks like booking a hotel, opening attachments, or filling out a survey. Instead, you can do all these actions within the email.
Will this change how I use email?
Yes, insofar as it’ll make some emails look and act differently and reduce the number of external pages or apps you need to juggle for completing email tasks. But while AMP will likely make communication smoother for businesses and gives developers a wider toolset to use for email, in general, this new technology won’t change the messages you send to others.
You’ll probably start seeing these web page-like emails showing up as more companies and email providers support AMP, which is a limited list so far. Currently, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, and Mail.ru are the only main email services supporting AMP, along with businesses like Booking.com, Despegar, Doodle, Ecwid, Freshworks, Nexxt, OYO Rooms, Pinterest and Redbus.
That said, for those whose email providers do not support AMP, the AMP-based email can fallback the standard HTML5 we’ve been used to for ages, so you shouldn’t have to worry about missing important messages.
Is this actually a good thing?
For usability and convenience, yes. At a surface level, AMP is going to be helpful to both users and businesses. However, there are concerns over whether this turns previously company-agnostic infrastructure—like email—into just another piece of Google’s platform, and some question AMP’s security.
While AMP emails would technically prevent users from accidentally clicking phishing links or downloading malicious attachments, some argue that having code running within an email message (not to mention ads and potential data-collection) is far riskier since ad blockers, pop-up blockers, and anti-virus software would usually be able to intercept sketchy links and files otherwise.
Even though these fears over privacy and Google’s spreading influence and control over the web are fair, they’re also mostly speculative at this point. Personally, I wouldn’t be too concerned about AMP; in fact, I think it’ll probably wind up being a convenient change that general users will welcome.
Besides, no matter how AMP email integration plays out, there’s almost always another option than what Google or other big companies are pushing.