“If you’re subscribed to receive email from certain senders, the messages you receive from them will be enhanced with an interactive gadget that has up-to-date content from their website (you’ll also see an icon in your inbox identifying these messages).
“For example, if you receive a Pregnancy Bulletin newsletter from Babycenter, you’ll be able to view up-to-date content, including the baby name of the day, and browse though the current top 100 baby names within the message. Aside from the convenience of being able to interact with certain websites from inside Gmail, the branded content will help identify that your messages are legitimate and not spoofed (we’ll only show branded content when the sender authenticates their mail). We’re currently testing this with a small number of senders and will decide whether to make it widely available based on user and partner feedback.”
This has a two major implications for publishers: the first is the possibilities it opens to create genuinely lucrative email newsletters either for their own publications or – just as likely – for advertisers (think of it as the email equivalent of the corporate magazine). But will they have to get in bed with Google to benefit from them?
The second implication is this: advertisers are already beginning to spend their budgets on their own publishing operations – i.e. websites and viral marketing. This is another possible candidate for those budgets.