Rumor: Google Gmail Killer Being Prepped By…Facebook?
Everybody, it seems, is gunning for Google these days. You already know about the forthcoming Microsoft Office 365 initiative. But have you heard the rumor about Facebook taking Gmail? Here’s a recap of some of the chatter The VAR Guy’s been hearing and reading — and what it could mean for the channel.
What The VAR Guy knows for certain is that Facebook is holding a special event today, strongly hinted to have something to do with the network’s inbox feature. A TechCrunch article says it seems clear the event will mark the launch of the so-called “Project Titan,” a polished-slick webmail client that’s designed to beat Gmail at its own game with @facebook.com e-mail addresses.
Feature-wise, Project Titan is supposed to take all the best elements of Facebook — relationships, relationships, relationships. By integrating events, photos, and, yes, ads, it could potentially be the best of all possible worlds for its millions of users — set one homepage and have access to your entire virtual life.
Here’s the thing IT pros should note: Project Titan, if it exists, seems totally consumer-focused. And while Gmail certainly gets around in the enterprise space, it’s not an enterprise leader. All the same, FaceBook and Google are battling for user stickiness… if users migrate away from Gmail, those folks could take their advertising revenues with them.
Also of note: Microsoft and Google seem to be locked in a SaaS email war — promoting Exchange Online vs. Google Apps and Gmail. Will FaceBook emerge as a surprise competitor? Hmmm… There’s no indication that this is a sign of a first step into a larger SaaS world for Facebook, and the company has given every indication of being perfectly happy in its current niche.
We’ll know for sure later today at the Facebook press event, so stay tuned.