Friday, November 12, 2010

project titan:gmail killer????????

Facebook has reportedly sent out invitations for a special invite-only event to be held on November 15 at St. Regis Yerba Buena Terrace in San Franscisco, US. Michael Arrington, founder and co-editor of TechCrunch is betting that Facebook will unveil a new web-based email client codenamed Project Titan at this event. Internally, Project Titan is referred as "Gmail Killer" and is said to bring email address backed by @facebook.com domain name. Do you think Facebook can take over something as big as Gmail? Well, probably not but read on.

Earlier this month, Google had updated its API Terms of Service that allowed easy export as well as import of Contacts to a service or application only if the same is reciprocated. In a way, Google shut down Facebook's access to pull contacts from Gmail to protect the user data. To battle that, Facebook came up with a work around to download Gmail contacts as CSV files and then upload it to Facebook. Google wasn't happy with Facebook's move and criticized Facebook for not letting users get their Friend Lists and email addresses out of Facebook.

This is not the first time both companies stood against each other for Friends/Contacts exchange matters. Back in 2008, Facebook suspended Google Friend Connect as the latter started re-distributing user information from Facebook to other third party developers without any user knowledge. Looks like that wound didn't heal even after more than two years have passed. But in a way, Google is correct for not letting a service simply take away Gmail contacts and not offering something in return to Google. All Google is asking Facebook to do is to let users pull out Contacts and Friends from Facebook to Gmail. Practice what you preach.





Now, to respond back to Google and kill the whole data protection issue, Facebook is rumored to launch its own email service with @facebook.com domain. It's pretty unlikely to kill Gmail but if Facebook launches its own email service, it would be interesting to see how other popular web-mail service providers react.

Facebook chat integration in several mobile apps has certainly made many Facebook users happy. But when Facebook Chat is used in the web interface, it's not that comfortable to use. Though the invitation obviously points that a new email/messaging service is on the anvil, I think Facebook might give a facelift to its Chat service. A much deserved facelift for users who have thousands of known and unknown friends. If Facebook chat is revamped with the ability to share photos, links and files, it will actually lead to loads of users remaining logged into Facebook for longer hours.

However, as of now, we have no confirmation on Facebook's deal. We've got to wait till November 15 for Facebook's official announcement.