Facebook and Google just can’t stop one-upping each other. Late last month Google took a small slice of Facebook's pie by tossing their Social Search feature into beta, but this week the popular social network took the upper hand with rumors of a fully featured webmail product.
E-mail inside Facebook!
Oh, the addiction!
The upcoming webmail product -- codenamed Project Titan -- is set to replace Facebook’s archaic messaging service (you know, the one that makes you delete messages one by one). Word is that it’ll have full POP/IMAP support, meaning users will be able to configure it with any e-mail client, including Microsoft Outlook, Entourage and Apple's Mail applications.
Supposedly your e-mail account name will be the same as your Facebook vanity URL, though there’s no news about what will happen to users who haven’t chosen one yet.
Facebook has yet to release comments on the client, but the Web is already roiling with anticipation--mostly, because the move makes a lot of sense.
Facebook is already the social communication tool of choice for 400 million people. By adding e-mail functionality Facebook becomes even more central, allowing users to socialize and communicate not only with their Facebook friends, but with people not signed up with the social networking service as well.
The addition will complement the network by allowing people to get more done under one umbrella, and we can also see it attracting more users. Moreover, Facebook's value as an advertising hub is poised to increase if more people started using it as their primary personal e-mail account.
Facebook's little warrior is hot on the heels of Google Social Search, a feature that takes a stab at Facebook's audience by integrating social networking with search results. Now of course, there are whispers of Titan killing off Gmail.
We can't really see one reigning supreme over the other -- though attempts to blur the lines between their basic modes of operation are prevalent, at the core they are still two very different services -- but watching them play off of each other, and enjoying the fruits of that game, is a pretty sweet deal.