Biggest Obstacle that stops Facebook Email become a Gmail KILLER

Right from the day (two days ago) Facebook announced its new email service, nicknamed “Project Titan, and even earlier, the web is buzz, with how Facebook can be a real gmail killer. I found all such stories nothing but towing the line fed by influential PRs at work. As merely saying something will kill another thing, just because the former comes from a powerful entity; doesn’t make the argument strong. So kindly don’t believe all such headlines “Trash your mail; wonder kid Facebook mail is arriving” unless you have strong reasons to believe the same.

To put the record straight, below is one simple reason that I think stops Facebook email to become a Gmail killer; and stretching the point to extreme, will even make the new Facebook email unsuccessful; unless some corrective action is taken to take care of it:

Be it yahoomail or Gmail, people are using them for their chat and mail integration. Some people are saying that people using gmail for its integration with Google's other products like calendar, video chat, phone calls, SMS, documents, etc; but I think such extensive users are very few; most people are using gmail either as a sole mail or for its ability to allow chat within itself. So the primary reason why people are using gmail is mail and chat integration.

Some thing which will be a feature in Facebook mail too.

But there is a difference in chat-mail integration in gmail and that in Facebook (as Facebook says instant messages, text, and other non-Facebook systems are brought into one place in the Facebook users’ accounts).

To use gmail chat, all a user needs is just the email address and the approval of the other person. Once the other person gives his/her approval; the two can chat with each other, whatever they want to chat about. This relationship can be most intense; but still; the wonder thing is, they are not sharing anything they have in their gmail accounts, the contacts, messages they are getting etc. So, even having a full fledged chat relationship; the mail accounts of both are private.

Facebook on contrary approaches the whole online relationship aspect from a totally different pov. Owing to its social nature, it asks a person to friend the other person first; and then lays bare all the details on each’s account to the other (friends share everything). Something which in simple is detrimental to chatting and to email – once the two are integrated.

Now some among us will argue, Facebook can also, have the same arrangement as Gmail has for its new mail service. Then my question is: If Facebook has to segregate its email and chat from its social network, by way of giving an option; then why put some effort to open a Facebook mail account and then propagate it. Why not use the one already using.

To counter another argument, which says “Facebook will be preferred for its features and many gmail like can be incorporated in a better way” my argument will be, why should one sacrifice his/her email privacy for some features, how outstanding they may be. Why not keep the mail separate.

Conclusion: It’ll be hard for Facebook to integrate its new mail with its social networking features (including chat) while keeping its social nature intact; and that will be the biggest obstacle to Facebook’s new email service. I underline that, Google faced the same problem when it launched its social network and tried to integrate it with its mail. People, specifically the gmail users, became conscious, thinking that if they integrate Google’s Social network with their mails; their contacts will be exposed. And they ignored Google’s social network initiative then and doing so even now. Otherwise Google’s Social network was not something to tank.

Online properties are trying their best to integrate different products. But by the very nature and image, it’s hard to integrate social network and email services. One can run them separately though; with chat windows on both. --------

No comments