Facebook's 'Project Titan' is 'Gmail killer' @fb.com?

Mark Zuckerberg wants to re-invent email. Oh, and he wants all that valuable Gmail data for himself.

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook.com)
By Richi Jennings. November 15, 2010.

Facebook is expected to announce 'Project Titan' later today. Rumor has it that it's Zuckerberg's 'Gmail killer' and everybody gets an @fb.com address, Oprah-style. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers look hopefully under their chairs.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention the amazing AT&T change-of-address mail-bomb FAIL...


Jason Kincaid says today is the day:

We’ve heard from sources that ...  Project Titan — a web-based email client ... [is] coming on Monday during Facebook’s special event. ... Our understanding is that this is more than just a UI refresh ... with POP access tacked on. Rather, Facebook is building a full-fledged webmail client.


There’s a huge amount of potential here. Facebook has the world’s most popular photos product, the most popular events product. ... It can tweak the design of its webmail client to display content from each of these ... and don’t forget messages from games, or payments via Facebook Credits. ... Facebook knows who your friends are ... it can probably do a pretty good job figuring out which personal emails you want to read most and prioritize them accordingly.

Charles Arthur ponders the mysterious announcement:

The expectation is that it's going to be a Gmail killer which will introduce an email client ... for the 500m-plus people who have signed up to the network. ... Some of the excitement is that "Project Titan" ... could be used to filter out spam


You can count on Zuckerberg to play the long game. ... [He] thinks in terms of permeating the entire web with his product.

Jack Schofield ne fait pas une pipe:

Facebook's ... more than 500 million active users ... won't all use Facebook mail. ... However, the service could come to compete with Hotmail (almost 400m users), Yahoo (300m) and Google's Gmail (approaching 200m).


"Fmail" looks likely to intensify Facebook's war with Google, which ... has already made several attempts in the social networking area ... without much success.


AOL ... made a huge impact on the web when it opened the flood gates to AOL Mail. Facebook mail will undoubtedly make less of an impact, but it could last longer.

 Mary-Jo Foley seeks the Microsoft connection:

I have a source close to Microsoft who said ...  the new Facebook e-mail will include Office Web Apps integration. ...  Via Docs ... users can share their documents via Facebook with their friends. ... Facebook’s announcement on Monday will take things a step further by directly integrating [it] into the new Facebook e-mail — much like Microsoft does now with Hotmail.


“The Office team has been working on this for a while now,” with Facebook, my source said. ... Microsoft and Facebook are BFFs (even though Microsoft has agreed to pose as the underdog in the relationship).

Nick O'Neil's got a feeling (that tonight's gonna be a good night):

There is a feeling that this is one of the largest announcements Facebook has made in a very long time. ... The majority of us spend countless hours wading through our email. ... Many are hoping that Facebook will release something to help.


Tomorrow could serve as the moment when Facebook shifts from being a secondary channel of communication to a primary. ... All signs suggest ... we are on the eve of a new era for Facebook.

But David Kirkpatrick is worried for the future of the internet:

The way to think about a prospective Facebook email service is not to ask yourself "Would I use it?" ... Far more significant is what happens to the tens of millions of young people worldwide who come online without ever becoming regular email users. ... Instead, they are doing almost all their communicating inside Facebook.


Microsoft is already a key Facebook ally. ... Another key thought ... [is] its monumental but insufficiently appreciated recent deal with Skype. ... You will be able to do your calling and emailing there as well. Facebook is becoming its own alternate Internet, loaded with functionality you simply cannot find elsewhere.


The social war between the Facebook/Microsoft axis and Google will help define the Web's next decade. It's the battle between likes and links.


And Finally...

AT&T Mail Bomb, and other Error'd

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com (perhaps also richij@fb.com soon).

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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