My 11/21/10 Missoulian column
This week, I was going to cover the changing circumstances of data export from popular Web services that once “locked” your data in – such as e-mail, contacts and the like – in order to encourage you to keep using the service. (And I still will cover that, next week).
That seemed like a good followup from last week, when I covered how Google and Facebook have been acting like teenage billionaires over allowing each other’s customers to access their own data.
The kerfuffle last week saw Google cutting off direct Facebook access. And then a few days later, Facebook advertised a way around Google’s block.
But after my deadline last week, Facebook announced a new messaging and e-mail system as part of their current, 500 million-user social networking service.
Google must have known Facebook was introducing their new e-mail system and wanted to counter the splash of the introduction a bit by suddenly denying data imports.
Called Facebook Messages, Facebook’s new system is part e-mail, part chat and part texting. It’s described by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a “social inbox,” and that is really what it’s going to be when it begins a slow rollout next month: Facebook Announces E-Mail Service – PCWorld.
Facebook Messages will combine all those formats in once place and in one inbox, and also allow e-mail outside Facebook, too, providing an @facebook.com e-mail address: Pros and Cons of Facebook’s “Non-Mail” – PCWorld.
The companies are becoming direct competitors more and more each day. And Facebook’s new messaging service, which begins its life with a user base of hundreds of millions of people, is big news. Especially to Google.
Zuckerberg has called Gmail “a really good product,” but also one (and e-mail in general) that is destined to be dropped by users for other, faster messaging formats: Zuckerberg: Our System Is Not An Email Killer. But If It Dies As A Result…
E-mail use is actually falling, suffering from the growth of texting and other forms of messaging. Surveys show that one reason is that e-mail is considered too “formal” a form of communication now: chat and texting doesn’t require “hello” and “best wishes.” (But e-mail is not going to die anytime soon.)
But I can already see one aspect that will be a concern with Facebook Messages: privacy.
Preliminary details of Facebook Messages show that Facebook will retain all messages and data, even if you delete them. Unlike Google.
With the privacy blunders Facebook has already made, will people trust Facebook with even more information?
This week in Mac Q & A: Recording Streaming Audio