Gmail engineer Raymond Wainman:
You may have heard of the open-source framework, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). It’s a framework for developers to create faster-loading mobile content on the web. Beyond simply loading pages faster, AMP now supports building a wide range of rich pages for the web. Today, we’re announcing AMP for Email so that emails can be formatted and sent as AMP documents. As a part of this, we’re also kicking off the Gmail Developer Preview of AMP for Email — so once you’ve built your emails, you’ll be able to test them in Gmail.
Not content with bifurcating the web with the introduction of a proprietary HTML-like webpage format, Google is now trying to split email clients into Gmail and everybody else. Gmail is already an email-like product and has some of the worst CSS support of mainstream email clients.
Of course, there’s a good chance the advanced capabilities of this format won’t catch on because email clients are already pretty fragmented as things stand today. It’s an area of the web where the lowest common denominators — HTML tables and old-school tags like
<font> — are used with disturbing regularity, simply because it’s the only markup that works well in all clients. It’s frustrating enough to build emails as things are; I imagine many developers will reject this because it adds yet another layer of complexity to their workflow that may not be used by a large number of recipients.
Developers shouldn’t reject this on those grounds alone, however. Google’s increasing demands to bend open formats with proprietary variations is a fantastic reason to avoid AMP in email messages.