Microns and AMP: A Powerful Combo (Part 3)

The Criticism

As with every new technology, not everyone is excited. Devin Coldewey offers a counter view on AMP. The main criticism is that it is an attempt by Google to convert what is an open standard (email) into something with a moat. “AMP is, to begin with, Google exerting its market power to extend its control over others’ content. Facebook is doing it, so Google has to. Using its privileged position as the means through which people find a great deal of content, Google is attempting to make it so that the content itself must also be part of a system it has defined.”

Besides, according to Devin, AMP also tampers with the simplicity of email. “This is the great genius and curse of email, that all you can do is send messages back and forth. It’s not always the best option, but it’s rarely the worst. If it’s more complicated than that, you use something other than email: a chat app, a video call, a file host. These useful items are often located adjacent to email, sometimes closely integrated, but they’re never actually part of it. This is a good thing. The closest you get is little things like adding something automatically to your calendar or scraping flight info from an itinerary. Ultimately it’s still just reading something. What Google wants to do is bridge that moat, essentially to allow applications to run inside emails, limited ones to be sure, but by definition the kind of thing that belongs on the other side of the moat.”

Vijith Assar adds: “One of the fundamental miscalculations of AMP for Email is that it degrades the delivery speed of a medium in which nobody really likes rich-message content to begin with. AMP for the web was a faster subset of the standard web, but AMP for Email is a slower superset of standard email. The product name is a misnomer — it’s not accelerated at all!… AMP for Email will probably fail, in part because it is not very good but also because most ideas fail in technology, in business, in the world. But the biggest flaw of AMP for Email is simply that it can’t reasonably be called version two of email.”

For the more technically inclined, there is a 2019 thread about on “AMP for email is bad” at  Hacker News (YCombinator). Chad White and Jason Hall have a good analysis on the pros and cons of AMP emails. Oscar Adika discusses the challenges with AMP, concluding thus: “Whether AMP for email will become more than a trend remains debatable. There are benefits and downsides. Nevertheless, it’s budding technology, and it might be worth checking out, even if just for its immense potential. Hanna Kline has a section covering AMP’s drawbacks, risks, and workarounds. Her suggestion: “Regardless of whether you think it’s a good idea, others will make use of it. Even if you decide to be a last-call adopter, you should keep an eye on the value others get from it.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.