Facebook might plan to unveil a new service for all 500+ million users on Monday: the ability to send and receive e-mail through Facebook.
Until now, Facebook is quite dependent on other big players, such as Gmail or Hotmail. At the moment, you can only send chat messages (IM) and private messages to other Facebook members. For quite a while, Facebook has been working on an e-mail system of their own, code-named “Project Titan”.
This e-mail system would address common issues within Facebook’s current messaging system, such as these:
- You cannot forward messages without copy-and-paste.
- You cannot mark messages read in batches.
- There is no external access (such as IMAP or POP) to your messages within Facebook, except for API-wise.
- People who don’t use Facebook cannot send you a message, as there is no e-mail address they could use, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some rumors tell that Facebook might aim at integrating Office Web Apps into the webmail version of Project Titan, much like within Hotmail. This would be a logical consequence of Docs.com and Facebook’s cooperation with Microsoft.
Back in February already, the Techcrunch blog judged:
Email is all about identity. And Facebook is ahead of everyone else in the identity game via Facebook Connect. Facebook says more than 60 million people log in to 80,000 third party websites each month via Facebook Connect.
Tacking a real webmail product on top of those vanity URLs and Facebook connect is something even Google may shudder at. Gmail killer? I don’t think so. But a strong product move nonetheless.
Taking into account the recent fight of Google vs. Facebook due to their contact im- and export, this may appear to become a smart move by Facebook. Whether it will succeed is a question of how well Project Titan is integrated into the social network’s platform. Do you think it will?