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Can Facebook Mail beat Gmail?

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The Facebook's invitation card with it's pink addition in the logo on the left and overall design has spurred in speculation suggesting Facebook is all set to reveal something mail related today at the summit

The passing minutes are all making the rumors more stronger, the rumors that Facebook could well launch its mail service to its’ users and in the process become the first service to offer such a unique combination of social networking and email together.

The project labeled as ‘Project Titan’ might be unveiled in an official capacity today when Facebook guys speak at the Web 2.0 summit in California.

And so, I personally think something big is gonna happen tonight.

If Titan is launched, as many as 500 million Facebook users will be offered email services and if all get an email address, the number of email users will be most for any webmail service. Yahoo currently leads the chart followed by Hotmail and then comes Gmail in the competition.

Here you might ask so as to why Facebook intends to kill Gmail then, if Gmail stands last in webmail competition?

And if you have asked that, you should brush up your tech skills. You see Gmail is awesome – it’s something that the tech guys love. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s niche. On the other hand, Yahoo and Hotmail don’t offer a complete email system. Yeah of course they can send and receive emails but they aren’t much productive. They’re more about sheen and gloss and not about performance.

And then, Yahoo is 16 years old, Hotmail is 13 whereas Gmail is just 6 years old. And so you can’t blame much to Gmail for not having the highest share of users.

On the contrary, it should be backed for being so awesome! Just take some reading about its features.

For example – Gmail was the first to integrate chat and an option to store chats, first client to give so, so much space that you run out reasons when it comes to deleting mails, first to let users “archive” mails and keep the inbox too neat.

Add to these it’s ‘labs’ features. Some add-ons are just too cool. Like the ‘undo send’ feature (yes with Gmail you can undo sending an email), or the multiple inbox thing, or the multiple colors stars for starring emails. Then labels. Then priority inbox. Well, I can’t stop talking about it.

Gmail is actually the thing that a person needs from an email client and Gmail has been doing so since its inception.

But now Facebook mail is threatening Gmail. Why? For an instance reason, the project Titan is secretly known as the “Gmail killer” inside Facebook’s walls.

Gmail is every emailer’s dream and even Facebook knows about its feature rich service and hence, Facebook is targeting Gmail.

Here the question is – will Facebook be able to complete its mission of killing Gmail?

The answer here is a bit complicated. You see the idea of a social network integrated with email is a pretty tempting one. Now it’s Facebook today where people spend most time on the web and hence, it can be pretty easy for Facebook to roll out and offer email services to its users; and you should not be surprised if most users accept the offer.

Add to that the ease that Facebook mail will provide. If it’s rolled out, it will be integrated with the social network and hence, sending and receiving photos, videos will be easier than ever. If the photos you want to email are already on Facebook, you won’t have to the pain of uploading them again. Same applies to viewing photos inside emails.

That’s not it. If you don’t recognize a person by his/her mail id and the name his/her mail boasts, well with Facebook mail you will have the liberty of looking up into his/her profile and if he/she is your friend, or if his/her profile is open enough, you can see more enough details than required to recognize someone, or check the authenticity of the sender.

Facebook has an amazing spam filtering engine and hence, spams could be well and truly be kept out of your inbox. But that can work against you as well at times. If you are used to send bulk, multiple yet useful mails, well you might have a problem as Facebook at times becomes clumsy when comes to spam filtering.

Facebook also knows how you connect with your friends. It knows how much more you connect with which friend and it knows with which friend you just do not connect. And considering that, Facebook can be more efficient than Gmail in prioritizing your emails!

On the other hand, people who know about Facebook founders and the allegations on them and those people might become a bit circumspect about using the service. Emails are sure more P&C than social network statuses and chats and hence, what if Facebook guys are sitting up in California reading all your emails?

And then who knows if Facebook will allow emails to @facebook.com outside its servers. Gmail has this feature which allows you to transfer all your mails into some other email client’s inbox or some desktop mail system (like Outlook or Thunderbird) and it’s totally transparent but it’s not clear if Facebook will allow so.

Also Gmail lets you add “five” more accounts via POP3. Now this is an amazing feature. One inbox and you get mails from 6 accounts. But again, we don’t know if Facebook will have such a feature.
Gmail’s servers are secured (https), Facebook’s aren’t (http) and that can be again a point that can get anyone thinking.

But then I think whatever features Facebook incorporates or misses on, Facebook mail will sure be a big hit. I hate to say this, but it will be a big hit!

Why?

I personally think emails are only something that are used when you are doing something important though its and excellent feature.

I talk about my own social network and I can name out endless people who have email accounts but they barely use them. Those people, however, use Facebook in extreme levels.

And with support of the point above, I think Facebook mail will be able to help revive the popularity of webmail regardless of what features it boasts.

And as far as power users are concerned who understand the complexity of things, I guess they’ll use Facebook mail only if it has some Gmail killing features along with more space, POP3 compatibility et al. And which I don’t think why Facebook can’t have.

I hate saying so, but there’s no reason why FMail can’t have stuff alike.

Anyway the time will tell things. 10AM US time the summit starts. That will be 1130PM in India. So by the wee hours of Tuesday here in India, we should know about how things will progress ahead.

Meanwhile if Facebook decides to give away usernames by default via it’s username thing, you must set your username now if you haven’t. Remember Facebook came up with this thing last year? If you have set your username, your profile will have a simple url like http://facebook.com/myname otherwise it will boast some numbers and crap instead of ‘myname’.

If you haven’t set the username yet, go to http://facebook.com/username, just in case!

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Written by rahulbhagchandani

November 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Facebook

Tagged with , , , ,

One Response

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  1. […] a comment » Amidst huge anticipation that how Facebook could kill Gmail, Facebook finally unveiled their long waited ‘Project Titan’ to the public. With the arrival of […]


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