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Sources say Facebook's Project Titan may be preparing for a clash with Google's own email giant, Gmail.  (Source: Warner Brothers)

The company sent out special invites on Friday to a Monday event.  (Source: Facebook via TechCrunch)
Facebook rumored to have been secretly been developing the service since the start of the year

The web email market is pretty packed these days.  Exact estimates of market share are problematic, as they're typically gathered by client image loads, hence minimizing the market share of clients like Google's Gmail.  Currently, though, most experts agree that Google's Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and Apple Mail are the big four of the e-mail world (AOL Mail still has a pretty loyal following as well).

Facebook announced on Friday that it was holding a special event on Monday, November 15, 2010 at St. Regis Yerba Buena Terrace in San Francisco.  The invite has a number of hints that the event might be something email-related, with comment bubbles and a mail-stationary like background.

Reportedly the social networking giant will be announcing a full-fledged, stand-alone email client, similar to Gmail, complete with @facebook.com addresses.  The full-fledged client The client has been in development since at least February of this year, under the code-name Project Titan.

If that proves true the code-name would seem appropriate as the ensuing competition would indeed be a clash of the titans as the internet's two hottest properties -- Facebook and Google -- wage war.

So will Facebook release the Kraken (e.g. the "Gmail Killer" that employees have been bragging about)?  We'll have to wait until next Monday to hear for sure.


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Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By paydirt on 11/12/2010 11:46:29 AM , Rating: 5
... um, no thanks.




RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By banvetor on 11/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By quiksilvr on 11/12/2010 12:01:26 PM , Rating: 5
I trust Google. Their privacy settings are actually quite concrete and their chat client is multitudes more stable than Facebook's.


By Omega215D on 11/12/2010 2:20:28 PM , Rating: 5
Not to mention that Gmail is more streamlined and less cluttered... kinda like what FB used to be back in the old University days.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By rudy on 11/12/2010 4:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
Dont you remember buzz?


By angryplayer on 11/13/2010 2:17:29 PM , Rating: 5
And Google said "Ooops. We're terribly sorry, we're turning it off."

Facebook? "By the way, we changed the privacy settings on you 6 months ago and didn't let you know. Also, you're holding it wrong."


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By Fanon on 11/12/2010 12:04:36 PM , Rating: 5
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or my ISP doesn't have the security/privacy issues that Facebook has had. No thanks.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By aharris on 11/12/2010 12:12:42 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed.

Then again the vast multitudes of FB users don't give a shit about privacy and personal security, and you can bet FB is counting on that.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By aromero78 on 11/12/2010 12:16:55 PM , Rating: 4
I agree but I doubt the average facebook user has the technical knowledge to make an educated decision about this. For good or bad unless that totally screw it up it will be a huge success.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By DerekZ06 on 11/12/2010 12:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'll use it and welcome it. I'll use it as my social email that I give out to friends to email me at. I already have a Hotmail and Gmail. Gmail is my more professional account that has the bank and other things tied to it. Hotmail is what I currently use as my social email with facebook, forums, and xbox live tied to it. With a Facebook address Ill just have hotmail for forums and an xbox live.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By Souka on 11/12/2010 1:58:19 PM , Rating: 5
I'm a corporate IT server guy... no way in hell I'd use a @facebook.com email address when applying for my next job. Might as well be @myspace.com or @aol.com

Anyhow....


By dusteater on 11/12/2010 12:18:23 PM , Rating: 5
I use both Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail and I trust both of those. Facebook though... is a different world completely. I do not have a FB account and never, ever would. They are getting out of control, seriously.


By ArenaNinja on 11/12/2010 1:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
I came here to make the same comment as OP.

facebook's blatant disregard for privacy makes news almost every month (or privacy policy review).

google has been guilty of this as well (recent London "incident" comes to mind), but at least I know google is kept honest by both their competitors and the potential lawsuit. Hell, I got an e-mail where they were apologizing for google buzz.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By DaftDev on 11/12/2010 12:13:09 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
... um, no thanks.


Agreed. I don't trust Facebook with any personal information, so I'm definitely not going to trust them with my email. They've done too much in the past that shows just how bad their privacy control measures are.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By NagoyaX on 11/12/2010 12:17:30 PM , Rating: 3
I dont think Facebook realises how much some of the tech community really hates them. I dont trust them as far as I can throw them


By DCstewieG on 11/12/2010 2:15:14 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think many in the tech community realize how much of a minority they are.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By Reclaimer77 on 11/12/2010 4:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I dont think Facebook realises how much some of the tech community really hates them. I dont trust them as far as I can throw them


Yeah if I was a billionaire and one of the most popular, most used, most influential service out there I don't think what a few socially repressed losers thought about me would cause me to lose much sleep.

If you "hate" Facebook, don't use it. But this whole evil image the tiny minority of the "tech community" has labeled them is just silly.


By Solandri on 11/13/2010 4:11:30 PM , Rating: 3
The evil image is well-deserved. At its heart, the "killer app" that makes Facebook is a universal login. If I make a website which I only want friends to see, I have to require them to make an account and password. If one of them makes a website they only want friends to see, we all have to make another account and password. And so on for every single of of my friends. That's a lot of accounts and passwords to set up. Facebook lets you get around that problem with a single account and login.

There is nothing preventing any other company from doing this. Previous attempts at it failed because of user disinterest - there was no carrot dangling in front of people to get them to use it. Only website makers wished for such a thing. Facebook managed to build up critical mass by offering a variety of useful services on top of that universal login (photo sharing, mini-blogging, etc). They did that right.

But now that they've grown, they haven't opened up the universal login so other sites can use it (e.g. you try to access my website, I verify your identify with Facebook, and if Facebook says you're really my friend like you say you are, then I let you see my website). Instead they guard it jealously to prevent competition and dilution of their market. Google got into a spat with them recently because Google is freely allowing GMail contact info to be imported into Facebook, but Facebook isn't reciprocating and allowing their contact info to be imported into GMail. Facebook is putting putting its own interests ahead of the interests of its customers. That's what makes it evil.

Long ago there were two competing technologies for social networking. One was the CompuServe/AOL model, where you paid a monthly fee to join a walled garden owned entirely by one company. Users interacted with each other, but completely within the confines of that walled garden, and only via ways approved of by the company.

The other was the Internet. It was technically harder to set up and join, but it was free and best of all it let you do anything you wanted. You weren't limited by what some nameless face at a company decided was the way things should be. If you wanted to make your own website, you could. If you wanted to build an eCommerce site, you could. If you wanted to build an app for sharing music, you could.

The Internet's free-market approach to things - letting you do whatever you want and allowing the best ideas to rise to the top - handily trounced the walled gardens. CompuServe went belly-up long ago, and AOL is a mere shadow of its former self, still alive only because they got bought by Time-Warner (which took a huge loss on it).

Facebook's current way of operating is a step backwards, back to the walled gardens we excised nearly two decades ago. And like CompuServe, AOL, and Communism it will eventually fail because technology advances faster when you encourage people to try new and different things, not when you restrict their freedom and only allow them to do things you've approved of. The only question is how long it will take them to fall (or change), and how much time we'll waste in the process.


By frobizzle on 11/12/2010 2:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
The current buzz over the new FireFox plug in, FireSheep only highlights FaceBook's (and others) nearly total lack of security.

I'm sure that this new FaceBook email application will be wildly popular with their usual sheeple followers. I personally will steer clear of it.


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By MrFord on 11/12/2010 12:24:57 PM , Rating: 4
I'd be more concerned that they would decide which e-mails you wanna see, hides the ones you really need, show you some FarmVille updates instead, throw in some spam that they will gladly let go through because it's "user-driven content".

Plus, a very tiny font, wasted space everywhere on the page, and oh yeah, hidden privacy settings. Just to round up the package.


By cjohnson2136 on 11/12/2010 12:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
i dont see what the benefit of switching to a facebook email would even be, all facebook users have an email already because you need oen for facebook, so what purpose would some that does not have technical knowledge really take the time to switch voer their e-mail address i just don't see it happening not in any way to be a Gmail Killer


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By inighthawki on 11/12/2010 1:00:51 PM , Rating: 2
You guys are forgetting the useful part. We can now have facebook email accounts to send all of our spam to. Scared to sign up for <insert fishy looking site here>? Use your facebook email!


RE: Trust my e-mails to Facebook...?
By Souka on 11/12/2010 2:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
Already use an old hotmail account for that.

Set filter to exclusive...so only people in my contact list will appear in my inbox. I get about 300 spam a day on that account.

If i expect an email (eg. password reset, confirmation email for a shopping site) I check the spam folder.


By Spivonious on 11/12/2010 1:07:06 PM , Rating: 2
Rumor is that Microsoft will be powering the backend, as well as integrated Office Web Apps.


By phatboye on 11/12/2010 1:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
People post their full name, address, phone numbers, contact list, relatives, friends, education, occupation, birth place, pictures, email address, personal thoughts and feelings, interest, religious beliefs, political views, answer questionnaires, link the account with their cell phone, update the places they go in in a day (foursquare). I can go on and on about the amount of information people share with Facebook, so you think after giving away all this information to one company the the average Joe Sixpack is going to mind using facebbook's e-mail services? They trust every other bit of info about their life to facebook, it seems only logical to trust their e-mail as well.

Personally though I don't give facebook any info on myself, and I won't trust this e-mail service either.


By Reclaimer77 on 11/12/2010 4:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
... um, no thanks.


Because your Viagra mails are really THAT important? :P


Default privacy settings
By crimson117 on 11/12/2010 12:48:55 PM , Rating: 5
By default, every Facebook email you send will be posted to your Facebook profile.

To disable this feature on a per-message basis, hold shift while clicking Send, then click File, Open, New, Message Preference, Open, New, double-click Send, Help, About Facebook Mail, then tick the checkbox labeled "No!" and untick the checkbox labeled "No?".




RE: Default privacy settings
By gmyx on 11/12/2010 2:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
That sound wrong? Are you sure you didn't miss a few hundred steps? P.S. 6+


typo
By sweatshopking on 11/12/2010 12:41:38 PM , Rating: 2
"The full-fledged client The client "




Apple mail is big
By rudy on 11/12/2010 3:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe I am ignorant but I have never in my life recieved an email from an apple domain. Gmail, Yahoo, msn hotmail yes, apple no. How is apple big in email. AOL fastmail comcast I can think of many that may have a significant market share apple is not one of them. Searching the internet I cannot find any articles or statistics where apple is shown to be a big player. Please link to your source of this claim.




Who wants to...
By espaghetti on 11/12/2010 10:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
type or say..... @facebook.com
Versus .......... @gmail.com
Yes, I know how an address book or contact list works, but doesn't it sound clunky?
I guess I'll wait to see what kind of cool features it will have. The list of features that gmail offers will be hard to match.




Interesting times
By Tony Swash on 11/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Interesting times
By Aikouka on 11/12/2010 2:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For all the numerous initiatives Google has launched (and sometimes abandoned) over the last decade it has still not found a source of revenue that comes even remotely close to matching it's income from desktop search/advertising.


I'm certainly not affiliated with Google in any way, which makes this only my opinion, but I'd say that Google realizes that there's more to success than simply revenue. While shareholders would certainly disagree with that ( ;) ), there is certainly something to be said about the other popular "metric of success" that is tossed around often: market share.

Google and Facebook both seem to realize the importance of market share and when introducing some changes, you need to ensure your product has ample saturation to avoid losing users. An example could be when Facebook finally put advertisements on their site.

As another example, Google uses Android's Free/Open Source state to give it a huge boost in adoption rate among manufacturers. Chances are they could sell it and still be successful, but you could argue that it wouldn't be as successful... especially now with Microsoft's mobile OS now available (prior to that, there really wasn't a viable option for competing with Apple's iPhone).

Mostly just my own musings :).


RE: Interesting times
By frobizzle on 11/12/2010 2:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
Tony,

Walmart has a special on aluminum foil this week. You should pick some up and make a new hat for yourself!


RE: Interesting times
By Al Koholic on 11/12/2010 2:38:36 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to simply thumbs-down this comment but I am curious. Concerning these potential battles:

Imagine Facebook as a publicly traded company like GOOG, MSFT, and AAPL.

Facebook will have to rely entirely on ads for revenue growth initially.

To truly enter a fight with Google they'll not only have to eat ad market, but will also have to challenge the mobile OS/search/ad complex GOOG is currently in hopes of taking over.

Similarly, if they were to threaten MSFT, they would have to pray that Bing and WinMo7 don't prove to be sources of growth for MSFT in the ad market similar to Android/ads/search as in the above case.

Taking another step, they would have to threaten AAPL's device market and hope that AAPL's entry into the ad market isn't successful because, if it is, AAPL will have the exact same platform that MSFT and GOOG have with respect to mobile OS/ad/search. Well ok, AAPL lacks search but still...

The future of the web is mobile devices and mobile OS. The future of advertising growth is displaying ads on as many devices as possible and integrating them into everything that happens on a mobile device. Dominating the web is as simple as dominating ads.

IMHO, you are correct that the idea here is that GOOG is the right choice of a 'main contender'. Currently it has the best os/ad/search complex that exists. Future growth depends on the success of said complex. Now, MSFT could become a factor here, as could AAPL but both are far behind what GOOG is offering and are trying to catch up. This is the reason for AAPL's entry into search and MSFT's reason for creating Bing in the first place (not to mention pegging so much on WinMo7). The fact that Android is 'free and open' is a master stroke by GOOG in it's attempt to dominate the web.

Facebook has a LARGE mountain to climb to really contend with all of this. Sure, they will be displayed on the above outlined web domination platforms and that will be good for them, but until they really dig into the platform itself, I can't see them being seriously considered peers to their supposed rivals.


RE: Interesting times
By Tony Swash on 11/12/2010 5:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The fact that Android is 'free and open' is a master stroke by GOOG in it's attempt to dominate the web.


But the problem for Google with it's Android strategy is that it may have avoided being shut out of the new mobile arena, an outcome it feared would be possible if another mobile OS became supremely dominant, but it takes them no nearer being able to monetize the new mobile web to the level and extent they can monetize the old desktop web. Until Google solves that problem it remains vulnerable to the expected secular downturn of the desktop web.

The important thing is not to view this as a struggle for market share per se (a topic that fascinates techies) because market share with no revenue or profitability is not a great place to be (ask Nokia). The thing is to look at it from Googles business point of view, which is of course what the people in charge of Google have to do. If in ten years a couple of billion people are accessing the web (and probably more importantly web services) from devices other than desktop PCs how can Google retain its current high revenues and high profitability? Currently mobile web use does not generate anything like the per capita revenue income for Google that the desktop web does. So what should Google's strategy be? Android is part of that strategy but it is not the answer. If two billion devices used Android does that guarantee to secure the revenues Google needs? No.

I don't think Google has a big joined up strategy, things are too fluid for that probably, I think what it is trying to do is insert itself into the ecosystem of the web with lots of parallel initiatives and hope that it can successfully monetize some. But it's hard. Note the current moves by the various TV networks to essentially kill Google TV

Now that Facebook is flexing against Google a new threat has opened up. Facebook is a big web entity but it too has been built on the old desktop web. Now it too needs to move onto the mobile web in order to grow and succeed and it too needs to come up with succesful monetization strategies. Facebook and Google find themselves on the same terrain both going after the same sort of goals. Google wants everyone to pass through Google services on the web, Facebook looks like it too wants everyone to pass through its services. This could be one hell of a fight.


RE: Interesting times
By Tony Swash on 11/13/2010 6:31:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Facebook has a LARGE mountain to climb


Not necessarily that large.

Facebook is now the most visited web site beating Google to top place.

That's quite some achievement.

Personally Facebook's charms elude me but there are 500 million who think otherwise and that number seems to be growing very rapidly indeed.

Facebook has been stealing Google's top managers in droves in recent months with the promise of IPO riches - hence Googles recent salary increases and bonuses.

The question is how ambitious is Facebook, whose turf do they want to invade and how good will they be at implementing whatever stratagems they come up with? To me it seems as if it's Google that is in their cross hairs but who knows.


RE: Interesting times
By cerx on 11/12/2010 5:25:29 PM , Rating: 1
GRAMMAR POLICE! Incorrect usage of "duopoly". You could say (maybe) Microsoft is in a duopoly with Apple for operating systems, but not Windows and Office.


RE: Interesting times
By Tony Swash on 11/12/2010 8:01:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GRAMMAR POLICE! Incorrect usage of "duopoly". You could say (maybe) Microsoft is in a duopoly with Apple for operating systems, but not Windows and Office.


I am curious (genuinely) as to why you think duopoly is incorrect. I meant by it that Microsoft holds, or did hold, two (interconnected) monopolies: i.e Windows and Office.

Do you think there is neater way to express this concept?


RE: Interesting times
By Reclaimer77 on 11/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Interesting times
By Alexstarfire on 11/12/2010 7:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
How did you turn an article about Facebook into an argument involving Apple and the iPhone? It's simply astounding.


RE: Interesting times
By Tony Swash on 11/13/2010 6:45:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How did you turn an article about Facebook into an argument involving Apple and the iPhone? It's simply astounding.


It's not - its a comment about the way the rise of the mobile and the decline of the desktop is affecting the various big players of which the main ones are Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple. The main thrust of the comment is that Google and Facebook are in the process of colliding. If every time someone uses the word Apple with out attaching a criticism you get all hot and bothered then you will miss some interesting debates.


RE: Interesting times
By Alexstarfire on 11/13/2010 3:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
Not really. I ignored some dribble that you wrote.


RE: Interesting times
By Iketh on 11/13/2010 2:14:12 AM , Rating: 1
your name has "prick" written all over it


RE: Interesting times
By Tony Swash on 11/13/2010 6:19:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
your name has "prick" written all over it

How very pithy

pithy
adjective
pithy comments: succinct, terse, concise, compact, short (and sweet), brief, condensed, to the point, epigrammatic, crisp, thumbnail; significant, meaningful, expressive, telling; formal compendious.

Now all you have to do is struggle to be cogent

cogent
adjective
a cogent argument: convincing, compelling, strong, forceful, powerful, potent, weighty, effective; valid, sound, plausible, telling; impressive, persuasive, eloquent, credible, influential; conclusive, authoritative; logical, reasoned, rational, reasonable, lucid, coherent, clear.

Good luck with that


RE: Interesting times
By The Raven on 11/15/2010 12:25:46 PM , Rating: 2
Ok. Now your name has prick written all over it. But I take it you were going for that ;-)


RE: Interesting times
By Iketh on 11/18/2010 1:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
take note of the "short (and sweet)" part


RE: Interesting times
By The Raven on 11/15/2010 12:28:33 PM , Rating: 1
I find it interesting that you have this view regarding FB v. GOOG, but if the story was about Apple v. <insert company name> you would think of things completely differently. That is what is interesting.


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