Technology |Emerging

Google is making email more interactive and fluid

Talk (6)

Charles Turner

Charles Turner

"Hi Joel, Just to reiterate what I..."
Charles Turner

Charles Turner

"Hi James, This story is what we c..."
JL

Joel Limberg

"Just a technical note: the AMP for em..."
JM

James Mitchell

"I agree that the uncritical nature of..."

Help us report on Google’s plans, Accelerated Mobile Pages technology (AMP), and how email might change in the future. Add information through EDIT STORY or offer suggestions through TALK. 

Google announced that it’s testing new features for its email service, Gmail. The plans would allow emails to be more than static threads of text, but living pages that can update automatically.

The Washington Post’s homepage loads in less than two seconds, in part because of Google’s AMP project (WSJ) which strips away unnecessary code so that articles and other content can appear more quickly. The AMP protocol has been adopted by large swathes of publishers, as Google claims there are now over 4 billion AMP web pages published. Now, this technology is being expanded into email.

Google’s new project is geared at companies who rely on email, such as newsletters, to provide real-time information to their subscribers. Instead of waiting for another email, or hoping the user clicks on a link, companies will be able to provide updated news within the original message. For example, an airline could show real-time flight information in a booking confirmation email instead of requiring the user to click a link and visit the airline’s website. The new feature is currently being tested by Priceline, Pinterest and Doodle, according to the blog post.

Immediately the tech press and developers reacted to the announcement, claiming that Google’s move could mark a major change in email infrastructure. Email is one of the oldest protocols of the web, going back decades, and not much of it has changed over that time period. Critics argued that email’s simplicity and static nature was its major strength, and if emails were to become dynamic, users would have to change their mindset. No longer would an email be a valid “paper trail” showing conversations as they originally were. Others argued against Google’s control over the AMP project and that by controlling which elements could and could not go into the new email format, the company was exerting too much control over a basic component of the Internet.

The “AMP for Email” specifications were released, and Google announced it intends to bring support to Gmail by the end of 2018.

Help us report on Google’s plans. Add information through EDIT STORY or offer suggestions through TALK. 


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United States
Charles Michio Turner is an American journalist who reports on labor, politics and development. In 2016, he reported from Myanmar on the several growing social movements in the country. His goal is to find new ways to include audiences in the new reporting process. Let him know if there's an issue or question that you see as being underreported or poorly reported. Twitter: @charlesmichio

History for stories "Google is making email more interactive and fluid"

Select two items to compare revisions

26 February 2018

15:38:15, 26 Feb 2018 . .‎ Dan Eads (Updated → Added paragraph about criticism and flight info example)

14 February 2018

09:19:52, 14 Feb 2018 . .‎ Angela Long (Updated → commas)
01:28:26, 14 Feb 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → fix hero image)
01:06:42, 14 Feb 2018 . .‎ Charles Turner (Updated → changed hero to portrait)
00:28:49, 14 Feb 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → tweak)

13 February 2018

23:38:44, 13 Feb 2018 . .‎ Charles Turner (Updated → tightening publish)
23:09:41, 13 Feb 2018 . .‎ Charles Turner (Updated → newsstub on gmail plans)

Talk for Story "Google is making email more interactive and fluid"

Talk about this Story

  1. Rewrite

    I agree that the uncritical nature of the story does not address the potential impact. I’d want an exploration of which aspects of an email could change with this technology after the email is sent. Currently, the content of links is malleable, although not the link itself. If the text portion would remain inviolate I’m less bothered.

    1. Rewrite

      Just a technical note: the AMP for email technology allows for the entire content of the email to be updated dynamically.

    2. Rewrite

      Hi James,

      This story is what we call a “newsstub,” meaning its the barebones of the story. We need you, as someone part of the wiki-community, to add onto this story.

      I will look into a step-by-step analysis into how emails will change under this model.

      But I encourage you to add onto this story as you see fit!

  2. Other

    Here is a interesting counterpoint : https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/13/amp-for-email-is-a-terrible-idea/.

    This counterpoint and the original announcement was also widely discussed in Hacker News comments https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16372234 .This doesn’t constitute a reliable source but can help linking to more resource about AMP controversial take on web standards.

    1. Flagged as bias

      Agreed — I believe the negative aspect of Google using it’s power as a major email service provider to push a new (de facto) Google-proprietary standard should also be highlighted.

      (In my opinion, the piece currently sounds too much like a re-wording of a PR statement)

      1. Rewrite

        Hi Joel,

        Just to reiterate what I told James. This story is a “newsstub,” just the introduction of a larger story. We need WT users like yourself to give these stubs life and direction.

        I will look into the links that Martin provided. But next time you see something missing from a story, you should contribute! Even if it’s only a couple of lines of context.

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