Dynamic Emails Are Coming to Gmail and Outlook

Posted on March 26, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Outlook.com, Google with 27 Comments

Google-owned AMP Open Source Project is launching a major new feature today. AMP Project is releasing support for dynamic emails on AMP Email, allowing companies to create dynamic emails that you can interact with right from your inbox.

Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail are three of the mainstream email providers that will be introducing support for dynamic emails using AMP. That means if an email uses AMP, you will be able to interact with it right from your inbox.

On Gmail, dynamic email support is rolling out today on the web. Google says the company wants to bring the feature to mobile devices in the future, though a specific release date isn’t available.

Microsoft’s Outlook is going to introduce support for dynamic email with AMP Email as a preview for Outlook.com users and expects the preview to be ready by this Summer. Yahoo, on the other hand, says it’s “excited” to be part of the program, though it’s not saying when the feature will arrive or if it’s already available.

Some of the major services using dynamic email with AMP Mail include Google Docs, which will allow you to respond to comment threads on files right from your inbox, for example. Booking.com, Despegar, Doodle, Ecwid, Freshworks, Nexxt, OYO Rooms, Pinterest and redBus will also be using AMP Email to offer interactive emails right on your inbox.

The idea behind dynamic email sounds really useful, but it will only really be useful if people actually start to adopt the new technology. Not only do developers need to start adopting the new tech, but your email client also needs to support the new platform. And I don’t think any of that is going to happen soon.

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Comments (27)

27 responses to “Dynamic Emails Are Coming to Gmail and Outlook”

  1. spacein_vader

    Sounds like a potential security nightmare. If it comes to exchange/outlook I'm sure many sys admins will want to disable it.

  2. walterwood44

    This article might make sense if we knew whatg AMP and Dynamic emails were and did. But then, this is typical of the aritcles here in that they assume we know what they are writing about.

  3. vanram

    I am a huge fan of Thurrott.com, its premium info and its professional technical journalists. I read your RSS feed everyday. Therefore please accept this ounce of feedback...

    I have never heard of this concept of "Dynamic Email" and when I saw this article I was intrigued to find out what it was and why Google and Microsoft were deploying it.

    I found that the only explanation of what it is was the phrase "interact with right from your inbox". My immediate reaction was great but what is it? Please in an article like this have a sentence, especially on a technical blog, that explains what something is, and some pointer about how it works.

    • Craig.

      In reply to vanram:

      There's a website called Google that can help in these situations

      • vanram

        In reply to Craig.:

        Yup, must be the problem using bing… But really it was just an expectation that an article would be complete topic of information. But I do not want to loose sight of the fact that this blog is great and I would only bother to make comments in such a context.

  4. Rob_Wade

    I guess I need to see an actual demonstration of what this really does. Just based on the description, it seems like we already interact with emails directly from the Inbox. I mean, that's what we actually DO. We read and email and respond. That's interacting. So, if there's a better live demonstration somewhere that does a good job of illustrating what's different about this, I'd appreciate it.

  5. wright_is

    What is the one thing the last 20 years has taught us? Scripting in applications is dangerous, scripting in email is totally insane...

  6. Pierre Masse

    What? Yahoo mail still exists?

  7. Sam Brien

    Might as well embed flash while they are screwing up something that isn’t broken.

  8. minke

    Hmmm, not sure if I will like this. There is something to be said for calmly contemplating written responses to emails without having to deal with instant replies flying around. This is one reason instant messaging isn't always successful in the workplace. The example above is a good example of how the instant reply is ambiguous and confusing at first glance, at least to me. I can remember epic workplace messaging threads that descended into farce until someone took the bull by the horns and (gasp!) called someone on the phone to find out what they really meant. Also, it will be interesting to see how the phishers and scammers take advantage of it.

  9. techguy33

    They reinvented old Lotus Notes?

  10. simont

    And how long before spammers start abusing this feature I wonder.

  11. lvthunder

    So what happens when you send one of these to a non AMP enabled mailbox?

  12. christian.hvid

    C'mon, Outlook has supported dynamic email since the nineties. ActiveX FTW! :)

    On a more serious note, wouldn't this open up a whole new range of opportunities for phishing attacks? Tricking people into giving up their passwords or credit card numbers will be so much easier when you don't have to direct them to a suspicious looking web site first.

    • wright_is

      In reply to christian.hvid:

      Exactly, and about 2 years after it was launched, it was shown to be a bad idea. Putting scripting in emails is totally insane.

      • christian.hvid

        In reply to wright_is:

        Yeah, I thought nobody would open that particular can of worms again, but there you go.

        Google apparently plans to address the security concerns by only allowing trusted parties to send AMP email, but once you've enabled scripting it's only a matter of time before somebody finds a way to abuse it.

        • Skolvikings

          In reply to christian.hvid:

          Honestly, what's the difference between email and the web at this point? AMP scripting will be limited, and if you allow a web browser on the device, this will likely be even safer than that, tbh.

          • wright_is

            In reply to Skolvikings:

            Because it is opening up (or rather dramatically increasing) an attack vector onto PCs. Email is bad enough as it is, with links to malware or infected attachments, without letting email proactively infect the users machine.

            Just because the web browser is a mess doesn't mean we should weaken everything else as well.

            Maybe we should, well, I don't know, fix the web browser first, then look at moving its technologies over to email?

          • christian.hvid

            In reply to Skolvikings:

            Actually, I'm less worried about the scripting aspect than the interactivity aspect. If your aunt Hilda gets an email from "Apple" saying something like "To continue receiving important security updates, please enter your Apple ID password in the box below and click Submit", or an email from "Amazon" prompting her to re-enter her credit card number "for verification", I'm not so sure she wouldn't fall for it. Unless, of course, your aunt Hilda is as tech-savvy as everyone says she is. :)

            • Craig.

              In reply to christian.hvid:

              Pretty sure Gmail and Outlook's spam filters would be able to filter out something that blatant, besides she'd probably click the link and enter it on the scammer's website anyway.

  13. CompUser

    "That means if an email uses AMP, you will be able to interact with it right from your inbox."

    Maybe I'm demonstrating what an uneducated twit I am, but don't we already interact with our Email right from the inbox? I mean, you open the Email right from the inbox, and interact with it, right?

    • bill_russell

      In reply to CompUser:

      Reading and responding to email or clicking links doesn't really count as being interactive. These are probably more dynamic like web apps or something, and "lightweight" via AMP.

      • CompUser

        In reply to Bill_Russell:
        Yea, opening attachment from inside an Email launches Adobe, Word, Excel, whatever app/program the attachment requires to open. That's being interactive right from the inbox. So I'm still not sure what exactly is being added here, other than a specific name to an ability/function that currently doesn't have a name so people think they're getting something new.

  14. AnOldAmigaUser

    Google must see this as something to drive more ads and therefore revenue. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason for this; it is the email equivalent of ActiveX, and that worked out really well didn't it?