Facebook Email: Facebook Address on Nov 15
Facebook Email Address: Would You Use One?
Facebook is making a product announcement at 10am PDT on November 15, just ahead of the Web 2.0 Summit. The buzz is that Facebook will be announcing an email service, though insiders say that whatever communication tool is revealed will not be an attempt at a "Gmail killer".
Either way, would you use a Facebook email address, if such a thing existed?
Still, this source doesn’t suggest that the application won’t serve as a replacement to other email products on the market. Another 45 percent of users said they’d either use both Gmail and Facebook’s product or they would be willing to make a total switch. In other words the market is completely split. This morning Facebook will have to work at convincing users that the new service is truly a life-changing product in order to convince them to make the shift.
That's not much of a statistic, though: a user is either using both, or switching from one to the other. They're not the same, and should not be counted together.
FastCompany predicts that no Facebook Email will emerge from the announcement:
No matter how good the Facebook service was, most existing emailers would prefer to stay put than to have to go through the time-consuming process of porting their details over to a new system, not to mention getting everyone they know to update their address books.
Of course, people did switch to Gmail at the drop of a hat, and the majority of Facebook's users are young people who don't necessarily have complex email requirements. Business users, on the other hand, wouldn't do business through Facebook due to the standalone privacy concerns, as well as that fact that it would look unprofessional.
Should Google be worried about a Facebook communication tool? Wired UK thinks so.
One, there’s so much interaction and information being shared inside Facebook that it has become a decent-sized replica of the Web inside the Web. And Google can’t crawl and analyse much of what happens in there. That’s a problem when your goal is to organise the world’s information. Google is blind to this because much of what happens on Facebook remains in Facebook. (Ironically, this is due to users’ privacy settings, which Facebook has relentlessly tried to chip away at over the last four years.)
Having said that, Facebook's check-in service doesn't seem to get as much usage as Foursquare or Gowalla, and Facebook Chat is far more limited than Skype, Google Chat, or MSN Messenger. Facebook's own private messaging system is rudimentary at best, so it would need a David Banner-esque transformation to compete with existing email products.
Can Facebook deliver? Depends on whether we're talking about theory or execution. Either way, Google will be watching very, very closely.