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Google unveils Snapchat-style format for its AMP stories

14 February 2018

Google launched the Gmail Developer Preview of AMP for Email, enabling new levels of interaction and collaboration within emails.

"We're really excited about the possibilities - developers and businesses will be able to send more expressive and interactive email messages than ever before".

AMP stories are built on the technical infrastructure of AMP to provide a fast experience on the mobile web. "AMP for Email will also make it possible for information to easily kept up-to-date, so emails never get stale and the content is accurate when a user looks at it".

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The "AMP" part comes from the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, a standard for websites that is meant to assist page loading on the mobile screens and to make it much faster. Skeptics, though, point to the technology as yet another example of Google trying to control the internet, not least because the algorithms apparently favor sites which present AMP versions of their pages and reward them for their cooperation with higher placement in search results. But Google naturally holds a lot of sway and said that it already has a handful of companies on board - in addition to Pinterest - including Doodle and Booking.com.

Publishers that have been working with Google on developing AMP Stories include Time Warner's CNN, Condé Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media, and the Washington Post. Being a subset of HTML, it puts some restrictions on the full set of tags and functionality available through HTML, Google said in a blog. "It swings the doors open to create visually interesting stories", Rudy Galfi, Google's product manager for AMP, told Techcrunch.

"AMP for Email" will allow developers to design interactive components for email with the help of several supported AMP components like amp-form, amp-bind and amp-list.

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For instance, an email from Pinterest will allow you to browse through images and interact with content - exactly as you would do on the site - but within the email itself. Based on a diverse architecture using Javascript, HTML and open source technologies, AMP is created to serve up mobile-optimized content (and ads) with minimal data requirements on mobile networks.

While you won't see this feature in your Gmail inbox just yet, it will roll out "later this year", Sahney added - though it's unclear exactly when that will be.

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Google unveils Snapchat-style format for its AMP stories