Emails, for the most part, are static, but Google today launched a new Gmail feature that makes Google+ events notifications more interactive. Gmail users will now be able to invite friends, read and respond to comments, and RSVP right from inside their inboxes. Google+ users will also be able to share photos that were attached to the event. Earlier this year, Google introduced interactive Google+ email notifications, which allow Google+ users to view, comment and +1 posts from Gmail without having to leave the application. Today’s launch brings a very similar set of features to Google+ events.
Typically, email clients don’t allow this kind of functionality because of security concerns. Microsoft’s Hotmail started whitelisting a number of companies like Orbitz and Netflix to allow them to display more interactive content in their emails in late 2010. Google, so far, is only making these features available to these two different kinds of Google+ messages.
Google launched Google+ events in June. Many people’s first reaction to the new feature was rather negative, as it felt very spammy to users who had many Google+ followers. Google has since fixed most of these issues.
As we noted when we first wrote about Google’s interactive Google+ notification emails, there are a number of other companies that are also trying to turn emails into more of a platform by making it more interactive. PowerInbox, for example, uses a browser plugin and API to enable some interesting features in many web-based and desktop email clients.