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Google wants to turn your emails into mini apps

Google wants to turn your emails into mini apps
[Animation: courtesy of Google]

Google is moving ahead with a plan to add interactive elements to email messages. The company’s new “AMP for Email” spec allows for things like buttons, check boxes, and image carousels within the message window. Pinterest, for instance, will let users browse and save ideas, while Doodle will let people vote on potential meeting times. AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is currently supported in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com, and Mail.Ru, and it’s open to other email providers that want to add support.

The dynamic emails will begin rolling out to Gmail users on the web today, the company said, with mobile support coming soon.

One example of AMP for Email

Some of the new interactivity sounds pretty useful, but it’s not without downsides. As TechCrunch‘s Devin Coldewey wrote when Google first announced AMP for Email last year, the spec gives Google additional power over what has long been a reliable, interoperable standard, and become a new vector through which Google and advertisers can deliver more personalized ads and trackers.

AMP helps websites load faster, but it’s been controversial among some publishers who have wondered about its utility and cast it as a self-serving effort to extend the tech giant’s reach across the web. With AMP for Email, Google’s tentacles will reach even further.

It’s worth noting that in order to ensure security, any company wishing to generate dynamic emails must seek Google’s approval first. Whitelisting makes sense from a security perspective, but it also underscores the power grab at play here.

When the same interactivity is otherwise just a click away on the web, some users might wonder if the convenience of AMP for email will be worth the cost.

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