AMP for email is a terrible idea

Google usually announced a plan to “modernize” email with a Accelerated Mobile Pages platform, permitting “engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences.” Does that sound like a terrible suspicion to anyone else? It certain sounds like a terrible suspicion to me, and not usually that, though an suspicion borne out of rival vigour and existent precedence rather than user needs. Not good, Google. Send to trash.

See, email belongs to a special class. Nobody unequivocally likes it, though it’s a approach nobody unequivocally likes sidewalks, or electrical outlets, or forks. It not that there’s something wrong with them. It’s that they’re mature, useful equipment that do accurately what they need to do. They’ve transcended a universe of likes and dislikes.

As justification cruise a impassioned monument of anything other than normal versions of those things. Moving sidewalks, oddball outlets, sporks — they usually exist in impassioned niches like airports and lunchables. The originals have remained unvaried for as prolonged as millennia for a good reason.

Email too is simple. It’s a famous apportion in most each company, household, and device. The doing has altered over a decades, though a simple suspicion has remained a same given a really initial email systems in a ’60s and ’70s, positively given a widespread standardization in a ’90s and change to web platforms in a ’00s. The parallels to snail mail are counsel (it’s a cargo with an residence on it) and morality has always been partial of a pattern (interoperability and remoteness came later).

No association owns it. It works reliably and as dictated on each platform, each handling system, each device. That’s a monument currently and a ruin of a profitable one.

But a tech attention has never been one to let elegance, history, or interoperability mount in a approach of distinction (RIP Google Reader), so that’s not most of an argument. Still, we suspicion it value saying.

More critical are dual things: a tray and a motive.

The tray is a one between communications and applications. Communications contend things, and applications correlate with things. There are crossover areas, though something like email is designed and overwhelmingly used to say things, while websites and apps are overwhelmingly designed and used to interact with things.

It’s radically useful to have a order here a approach it’s useful to have a order between a book about glow and a book of matches.

Emails are immobile since messages are meant to be static. The whole judgment of communication around a internet is formed around a telegraphic indication of exchanging one-way packets with immobile payloads, a approach a whole judgment of a flare is formed around trenchant a square of food and permitting attrition to reason it in place during transit.

The tray between communication and movement is critical since it creates it really transparent what certain collection are able of, that in spin lets them be devoted and used properly.

We know that all an email can ever do is contend something to we (tracking pixels and review profits notwithstanding). It doesn’t download anything on a own, it doesn’t run any apps or scripts, attachments are dissimilar items, unless they’re images in a HTML, that is itself optional. Ultimately a whole package is always usually going to be a large , immobile cube of calm sent to you, with a occasional record roving shotgun. Open it a year or 10 from now and it’s a same email.

And that condemnation goes both ways. No matter what we try to do with email, we can usually ever contend something with it — with another email.

If we wish to do something, we leave a email behind and do it on a other side of a moat.

This is a good talent and abuse of email, that all we can do is send messages behind and forth. It’s not always a best option, though it’s frequency a worst. If it’s some-more difficult than that, we use something other than email: a discuss app, a video call, a record host. These useful equipment are mostly located adjacent to email, infrequently closely integrated, though they’re never indeed partial of it. This is a good thing. The closest we get is small things like adding something automatically to your calendar or scraping moody info from an itinerary. Ultimately it’s still usually reading something.

What Google wants to do is overpass that moat, radically to concede applications to run inside emails, singular ones to be sure, though by clarification a kind of thing that belongs on a other side of a moat.

Why do this? Are we regulating out of tabs? Were people angry that clicking “yes” on an RSVP email took them to a invitation site? Were they seeking to have a video discuss window open inside a email with a link? No. No one cares. No one is being inconvenienced by this aspect of email (inbox overkill is a opposite problem), and no one will benefit anything by changing it.

Well, almost no one. Which brings us to a motive.

AMP is, to start with, Google exerting a marketplace energy to extend a control over others’ content. Facebook is doing it, so Google has to. Using a absolved position as a means by that people find a good understanding of content, Google is attempting to make it so that a calm itself contingency also be partial of a complement it has defined.

“AMP started as an bid to assistance publishers, though as a capabilities have stretched over time, it’s now one of a best ways to build abounding webpages,” it writes in a blog post announcing a AMP for Gmail test. No, it isn’t. AMP is a approach to adjust and deliver, on Google’s terms, genuine webpages built with genuine tools.

The forgive that a mobile web isn’t quick adequate is threadbare, and a resolution of a special Google-designed sub-web transparently self-serving. It’s like someone who sells bottled H2O revelation we your daub runs too slow.

AMP for email is usually an prolongation of that principle. People leave Gmail all a time to go to airline webpages, online shops, amicable media, and other places. Places that have combined their possess user environments, with their possess analytics, their possess processes that might or might not be profitable or even manifest to Google. Can’t have that!

But if these bland tasks take place inside Gmail, Google exerts control over a insinuate details, defining what other companies can and can’t do inside a email complement — rather than regulating a healthy stipulations of email, that we dive to echo are a feature, not a bug.

And as if that play wasn’t enough, a other one is as baldly avaricious as anything a association has ever done. Dynamic calm in emails. Where have we listened that one before? That’s right: it’s Google’s whole business indication for charity a giveaway email service. Ads.

What is a immeasurable infancy of “live” calm on a web, things that needs to call home and refurbish itself? Not articles like this one, or videos or songs — those are usually resources we request. Not chats or emails. Cloud-based capability collection like common documents, sure, granted. But a rest — and we’re articulate like 99.9 percent here — is ads.

Ads and trackers that adjust themselves to a calm around them, a information they know about a viewer, and a latest pricing or promotions. That’s how Google wants to “modernize” your inbox.

Does “engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences” ring a small opposite now?

Don’t use this. Don’t inspire it. AMP and other initiatives like it are already a corrupt on a web, and they will be equally bad for email.

Featured Image: HeiroGraphic/Shutterstock

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