Facebook rumor of the week: A Web-mail app?
Once again, tech reporters are engaged in a sort of Kremlinology: Guessing what Facebook might mean with its latest vaguely worded invitation to a media event. The latest such solicitation, seen below, arrived yesterday: Come hear Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg talk about ... something at 10 a.m. Pacific Monday in San Francisco.
Early this morning, TechCrunch offered its own interpretation. The AOL-owned site's Jason Kincaid reported that Facebook will be introducing an e-mail service, code-named "Project Titan" for now, but also nicknamed in-house as Facebook's "Gmail killer."
Facebook is building a full-fledged webmail client, and while it may only be in early stages come its launch Monday, there's a huge amount of potential here.
Kincaid cited unnamed company sources -- and noted the obvious symbolism of the airmail-stripe graphics on the Facebook invitation -- as evidence. Kincaid also suggested that recent sniping between Google and Facebook over exporting and important contacts lists makes sense in the context of an upcoming Facebook e-mail launch.
TechCrunch has gotten a decent number of Facebook scoops, but some can only be charitably described as premature. Its prediction of a Facebook phone yielded to the reality of interesting location-based features being added to its existing smartphone site and apps.
(Disclaimer: If you haven't memorized the usual disclaimer about The Post's connections to Facebook, Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham still sits on Facebook's board of directors.)
If that pattern repeats itself, we could be looking at functional upgrades to Facebook's existing messaging feature -- which TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington denounced as "becoming completely unusable as a personal or business productivity tool" in 2008 and hasn't seen many advances since.
But assume for a moment that TechCrunch's story is right -- setting aside the reality that most tech products hyped as a "[name of incumbent product] killer" wind up as roadkill themselves -- and ask if you want to hand over your e-mail to Facebook. I know some of you are comfortable using Facebook messages to stay in touch, but do you also want to shift your communication with the shrinking majority of non-Facebook Internet users to Facebook's services?
| November 12, 2010; 10:55 AM ET
Categories: E-mail, Social media
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