Sunday, 29 November 2009
Facebook Integrated Email Client - a "killer feature"?
The other day I realised something. I spend the vast majority of my day in the browser, with two tabs always open: Facebook, and Gmail. I use Facebook for the rich social features, photos and up-to-date contact information. Gmail I use for business communication, notifications from across the web and general communication.
What if I could combine the two? What if there was one place on the web where I could find up-to-date information about all of my friends, as well as providing private, asynchronous two-way communication by emails? I would spend all my day with this open.
What if Facebook had an email client?
Just another link on the left bar - under "News Feed", titled "Email Feed". This would show your most recent emails in a list, Facebook style, with Facebook profile pictures automatically matched to your contacts, Xoopit style. Then when you click an email, it will open and besides the email, also show information about the user, including recent updates and allow you to message them back.
If Facebook could handle my emails, I'd have no reason to keep Gmail open. I would spend all my day on Facebook. Literally. Even at work. And the integrated calendar functionality could be expanded, to provide Outlook-like viewing of availability, and event scheduling. The possibilities are endless.
Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe there's a glaringly obvious reason why Facebook doesn't do this. But as far as I can see, despite all our modern micro-blogging services, the good old email still has a lot of life left in it. If Facebook could tap into this huge business, they could potentially revolutionize email, and dramatically increase their market share at the same time. Not only that, it would also present a pathway for Facebook to move into the business communication sector, which is still largely avoiding the social network.