You’d expect breaking into the email-providing business and gaining any substantial marketshare to be no easy feat. After all, you’d be competing against the giants like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and Aol. Reports last year guessed Microsoft, the largest in the world, to have just over 250 million total users. If TechCrunch’s sources are correct, Facebook could pass Microsoft’s user-base by nearly 150 million.
Code named ‘Project Titan’ on the inside, Facebook is said to be in the process of scraping their message service and starting from the ground up. Currently, messages are sent to your Facebook Inbox. This inbox has no real identity and can only receive messages from other Facebookers. Instead, they’re working our vanity urls to be used for an email client. That means, not only can your profile be found at www.facebook.com/vanityname, but every user will be given their firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s right, a Facebook email service will replace your inbox, allowing you to send and receive emails to any other address directly from Facebook. This built-in email service will include IMAP and POP support, allowing users to link their Facebook inbox to mail clients like Outlook, Mail, and all your mobile devices.
Few other platforms have the ability to do anything remotely as powerful. The tremendous size of Facebook’s user-base allows it to implement new features that can often eat the competition within months. It’s the place most people go for social networking. Since they’ve added the chat features, it’s become a replacement for many instant messengers. When they introduced this email service, I have no doubt that many users will replace their old addresses with Facebook’s.
As Facebook continues to rollout new features that people already use everyday, scattered through different providers, it’ll become a central hub where we access so much of our personal information. Expect to hear more in the coming months. Would you make the shift towards a Facebook email address? Share your stance in the comments.