Great article! Too bad Google will be deprecating SVG with SMIL. If anything Google should be embracing SVG SMIL.
I wonder why they are moving in that direction... are there any absolute benefits of SMIL?
They are. The Youtube player interface updated its icons to SVGs with SMIL a few months ago.
Excellent in-depth breakdown on the benefits of using SVG animation.
I'm not sure the direct comparisons with GIF were needed though. The reason GIFs are so prolific on the web isn't because they're the best format - they've never been the best format for moving image. They're so common because they're incredibly easy to create and lots of platforms export to it.
Excellent discussion and analysis by Sara Soueidan - definitely worth the long read.