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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 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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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
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
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.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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