Get ready for a new invasion wave from Facebook: Mail. According to Techcrunch's sources, a full webmail client integrated with The One and Only Social Network will debut next Monday. This is why it may become your favourite webmail service.
If I were Google, Yahoo or Hotmail, I'd be very nervous. Facebook Mail could be a killer not only because of its potential instant size, but because of its natural advantage at making mail more useful. Actually, it may become the only 100 per cent useful mail service out there, only showing you the email you are actually interested in. To me, that's enough reason to switch.
Facebook has 500 million active users. Gmail is estimated at 170 million registered users, while Yahoo has 303 million and Hotmail is still king of the hill at 364 million. Of course, not every Facebook user will jump on its mail bandwagon, but chances are that a huge percentage of the user base will. In fact, it's not a crazy assumption that almost everyone will, even if that means having yet another mail account added to your computer, phone or tablet.
First, because Facebook users are already used to its internal messaging system. For many, this could just be a convenient upgrade that will let them add these messages to their mail boxes. Remember that Facebook's mail is rumoured to have external mail client access as well as its dedicated webmail interface. It will be easy to have it in every single gadget you own.
But, most importantly, Facebook's users would probably jump in because the social nature of Facebook fits perfectly with the social nature of mail. The irony here is that their mail system could be a raging success because of what many people criticise: Facebook tracks all your moves.
Their not-so-secret weapon
Since Facebook knows how you interact with all your contacts, they would be able to perfectly separate what is important from what is not. Having used Gmail's Priority Inbox for a while, I have the feeling that Facebook could do much better at given all their data and some clever, but not overly complicated logic.
Moreover, it's not only about separating what is important and what is not. Their tracking data could allow them to do other things, like prioritising mail from the person who just became your fiance or lowering the priority of that ex who keeps mailing you. They can also let you enable easy filtering options to automatically prioritise your mail and file it into separate boxes. The possibilities of using your social interactions to enhance the mail experience are endless, and I have no doubt that Facebook will exploit all of them to your (and their) advantage.
Ultimately, that's what people like about Facebook. It's always prioritised communication, this closed playground where only your friends and contacts get to interact with you. If they can provide a mail system that will allow the controlled entry of external people while keeping the playground fun, clean and safe, they'll have a winner. [TechCrunch]