And you thought Facebook was already taking over your life:
Back in February we wrote about Facebook's secret Project Titan — a web-based email client that we hear is unofficially referred to internally as its 'Gmail killer'. Now we've heard from sources that this is indeed what's coming on Monday during Facebook's special event, alongside personal @facebook.com email addresses for users.
TechCrunch is calling this a "Gmail killer," and by Monday you're going to see a lot of people asking if Facebook Mail (or whatever they call it) is going to replace Gmail. But I think a better question is this: Is Facebook going to kill e-mail?
Sounds crazy, but for a lot of kids, Facebook already has killed e-mail, and it's not hard to see why. If you're not a professional user, Facebook messages—which don't require users to memorize some absurd address involving an odd symbol and a dot-com—are easier than e-mail: You don't have to know someone's URL—just their first name and last name—so there's no chance of bounce-backs when you miss a character. You also don't need out of office replies or signatures, since a person's status and contact information are already built into his or her Facebook profile. Plus Facebook already offers a much better address book than any e-mail program.
My guess is that Monday's announcement will be about getting adults, especially professional users, to take Facebook Mail seriously. That will require some technical tweaking so that Facebook's offering can be imported into popular e-mail clients like Outlook and it will require some clever PR. Right now Facebook messages are the sort of thing your kids do, but that was once true of text messages.
I'll be keeping my Gmail for now, but I wonder what others think? Would you consider switching to Facebook mail?
Last updated: Nov 12, 2010
Senior contributing writer MAX CHAFKIN has profiled companies such as Yelp, Zappos, Twitter,
Threadless, and Tesla for the magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. @chafkin