Should Gmail Be Worried About Facebook?

Rackspace Thinks Business Email Fine, Consumer Email Not

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You’ve no doubt heard or read about Facebook’s new messaging announcement this week. If not, the company announced a new messaging system to combine email, SMS, IM, Chat, and other forms of online communication, bringing them into one inbox. Along with this comes @facebook.com email addresses. CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the system as "starting from scratch" as opposed to being a Facebook email product. 

Pat Matthews, SVP of RackSpace‘s cloud computing business, which includes business email, shared some thoughts with us about the impact Facebook’s new offering will have on the email industry. RackSpace itself powers business email for over 2 million users.

"I don’t think Facebook will encroach on business mail, at least not anytime soon, mostly because of the security and privacy implications," Matthews tells WebProNews. "Facebook is very consumer oriented and I don’t see this crossing into business anytime soon. Mark Zuckerberg has specifically stated the company is all about consumers. His focus is leading them to greatness."

"I do think consumer mail is at risk," he adds. "Consumers live in Facebook, not on Google. I think that Gmail and AOL should be worried."

Still, Google has Google Apps going for it, which it has now expanded to encompass most of the company’s offerings. That could play a significant role in keeping businesses using Google, though Gmail has always been a part of Google Apps. I have to wonder if Google’s news wasn’t somehow spurred by Facebook’s. 

"Facebook users will use Facebook mail as an extension of their already popular messaging services," says Matthews. "I have no doubt this will be extremely popular."

"Facebook is one of the most innovative companies on the planet," he adds. "I think that they will influence all types of applications, business and consumer."

It’s no secret that businesses are already placing a great deal of emphasis on reaching Facebook users, and it will be very interesting to see the impact the new messaging system has on their strategies. I’ve already speculated that we’ll start seeing more businesses utilizing personal profiles to try and get into Facebook users’ primary inboxes (as the system filters messages that aren’t from "friends" into a secondary inbox). 

Social Inbox Folders

Social media and email have been getting closer and closer with one another for some time already. "In the past, organizations supported collaboration through e-mail and highly structured applications only," said Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner, who predicts 20% of employees will use social networks as a main business communication tool by 2014. 

"Today, social paradigms are converging with e-mail, instant messaging (IM) and presence, creating new collaboration styles," she said. "However, a truly collaborative, effective and efficient workplace will not arise until organizations make these capabilities widely available and users become more comfortable with them. Technology is only an enabler; culture is a must for success.”"

When asked what Facebook’s new system means for the larger trend of social networking and email converging, Matthews told WebProNews, "Consumers want one view for many things but they also want very different views for their personal and business lives. This is why I really think Gmail should be worried."

It is worth noting that our conversation with Matthews took place before Google’s announcement, so I’ll have to find out if this changes his opinion on that. Update: He says, "They are proving they’re worried by doing this. All of these apps already existed so I doubt this move will make that big of an impact. The main thing Google needs to worry about is the fact that people are living their personal lives inside Facebook.  They’re going to want their personal email and apps where they already live."

What do you think? Should Gmail be worried?

Go here for Mark Zuckerberg’s philsophy behind the new messaging system

Should Gmail Be Worried About Facebook?
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  • http://www.michaelgugel.com Michael Gugel

    Email is fundamentally broken. I’m really looking forward to a day when I won’t have to be worried about coding an email so it displays correctly in dozens of different browsers and email clients. Hopefully, Facebook can make that happen.

  • http://www.autoreverseweb.com Souleye Cisse

    I believe the facebook vs gmail or google in general is overblown. I for one, am not a fan of facebook. I eventually decided to join not to miss out like I did with myspace. but the story of myspace should be telling. of course you gonna tell me facebook is not myspace but before, we had aol. before we had geocities. I think the american consumer is very fickle. the same ones that live by facebook will be the first ones to lambast it once there’s a new kid on the block. it may even be twitter. sofar people are cool to it. and facebook has been quick to borrow ideas from twitter but it’s too early to tell. unlike what one of your contributors said ‘they’ don’t live on facebook, unless ‘they’ excludes me. I spend an average of 10mn or less a day on facebook. only idle minds live on facebook. those have very little need for email anyway, because they are already on facebook! or have not been using email in the first place anyway. you cannot build a sound business model based on that demographics. remember the sixties? those are the senators of today opposing legalization of marijuana. security issues apart, changing email is so very inconvenient, especially if you use it for business that when you consider the pain, you may as well stay put. I still have my yahoo. I have gmail for my google services. I have 3 other emails plus the one at aim.com that I’m deliberating should I kill but I wanna do it in a way that I won’t be missing out on some important messages.

  • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

    I haven’t used it, so my opinions could be without warrant, but I don’t think too many people are going to give up email. It’s kind of like asking, will people give up chat rooms or forums because of twitter.

    It’s going to take a somewhat savvy user to make a full transition from email to FB messaging, and they would have to be committed.

    Unless FB messaging fullfills a need which others cannot get with their current email, or messaging service, it will probably less “killer” than imagined.

    It’s not like 250 Million users are going to tell all thier friends that they’re stupid for using email because FB messaging is just so much better. It’s not like Myspace vs Facebook. It’s email vs messaging.

    But who knows, right?

    • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

      I’m sort of worried what would happen if Hotmail somehow merged with FB messaging.


      I know those aren’t accurate stats, but hotmail is alot more popular than gmail, it would seem.

      • Guest

        Nah, I disagree. Internet marketing has become a big thing these days. If you would take notice, such as, for example, I do freelance writing. Most companies will not ACCEPT YAHOO, OR HOTMAIL ADDRESS, THEY WANT GMail or a nonweb email address. I have hot mail, and I can clik spam, but that mail only goes to a spam box to be tossed later. I can report spam to google with the spam button. I would gladly give up Hot mail too.

  • Guest

    People are not going to change their primary email to begin with.
    Others add new emails just for the purpose of letting it collect the spam mail

    People String came along, thinking it was going to take over the WEB. Instead, PS lied, mislead people, and turned to Gestapo Tactics and removed members who did not worship them.
    The money they claim you earn, is pennies not dollars.

    Facebook came along and has tried to copy some of the tactics PS uses, to convince people that you can make money with them.

    The social network sites are for people to network, and socialize. You cannot Network, because you are then accused of spam.

    G mail has a system in place, for when I get email that I did not request, and it is spam, I can choose to report it as spam or not.

    Gmail gives us control, rather than controlling us.

    No way am I interested in a Facebook email. Their site has become so complicated due to stupid changes, email is going to be another toy for them to play with. Oh, people string has an email system where members can use the email there, as another email address.

    Facebook is competing with People String, and that is the bottom line.

  • Jim Hudspeth

    I cannot speak for anyone other than myself on this issue.

    I will not be using Facebook email.

    I will also use great care in responding to anyone with a Facebook address, most likely by asking them for a non Facebook address to reply to.

  • http://www.affordableseofl.com ibsys

    I think so – Facebook is doing great on the Social Marketing arena, it’s a young and dynamic company. Google on the other hand is not an old company either but is in the process catching the “corporate” syndrome which may make Google to ignore Facebook’s child talk. That’s what would be a big mistake.

  • http://www.mybestratedwebhosting.com MBRW

    Facebook email could be a serious threat for every major providers including Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. However, the security is another doubt since they are new for this market and peoples email privacy and confidential are most important. I doubt if someone whom had their Facebook account hacked would trust toward their email service.

    Facebook itself has some loophole that let other peoples hack another Facebook account regularly. I am the one who will not use email provide by Facebook since I do not trust their security. I think own company email account + Gmail is enough for me.

  • http://autosurf-rendaextra.blogspot.com almirramos

    Renda extra e muita divulga

  • http://law.tamir.co.il Doron Tamir , ADV

    I have seen lots of companies born and die hard on the net . Or go out loud but then start to charge money for their services that drive them to devastation.

    BUT I have seen google and they really know ow to sell us what we already have and they do it better then others and they sell it to us for free so no devastation is expected. and still they make tones of money.

    So facebook is cool and should work with google or die hard.

    remember my words “work with google or die hard!”


    • Guest

      there’s wisdom in some of those words friends

  • http://www.chrisjaegerconsulting.com Chris Jaeger

    Google Buzz is a name that will never sit right with people. “Look me up at Google Buzz.” I don’t think so… They’d be smart to change it to Google “Connections.” “You can find me Google…” And then Google has to very quickly basically copy Facebook integrating a Linkedin type application. This makes perfect sense in Google’s “one-stop-for-everything” model. When FB makes the move to search, and you know they will (probably within 12 months), then Google has a problem that will be difficult to deal with. I think a lot of people feel Google has sort of jumped the shark.

  • Greg

    I left Facebook because one day I went to log in change my password, I changed it, and only had 1 friend on my account. The friend was someone I blocked and quit talking to. All the rest gone. As were my pics, vids, music, ect…

    I was like WTH? I stopped my account and I then checked that I didn’t want any emails from facebook, ever again. 2 weeks go by and low and behold, there was an email saying I had a friend request. WTH?

    I tried to log in with my new password, and couldn’t. Tried my old one. Bam! WTH? I had all my pics and everything again. I had told them about it at the end when you leave, they want to know why, so I told them, but no apology. Not acknowledgement that it happened, nothing.

    I don’t trust them. They will give your info to anyone with a dollar, yen, probably even a dinar from Iraq w/ Sadam Hussien on it.

    I know they do this. Because how do you get sidebar ads from your local area with stuff your interested in, in your email from yahoo that you use to log onto facebook? The same ads. It doesn’t take brains to figure out what the hell they are doing, and google doesn’t want you to use yahoo, and visa versa. But yahoo has never lost crap. Ever. Never using it again. No social networking sites for me. Ever again.

  • http://www.puamanawebdesign.com/ puamana

    I left outlook long ago for gmail, and have been reasonably satisfied, and no longer
    have to worry about email virus attacks…now only malware.

    on the one hand, google is kind of a monopoly,
    (definitely the biggest kid on the block) one could argue that putting all one’s eggs
    in a single basket is not a good idea, but google does such a good job of carrying
    that basket… I’m willing to chance it…

    facebook email? nahhhh… I don’t want to send personal messages through
    facebook where everyone has access to them… I never put anything on facebook
    I wouldn’t want my mother to read. LOL

    I don’t think Google has a lot to worry about here, and as noted above, it would behoove fb to work WITH Google, rather than against it.

  • http://www.jasonfox.web864.com Jason fox

    Lets face it facebook is funner than google. I spend more time on facebook. Im a creature of habit. So if facebook gives me a good email option i will probably use it. I am already sending my personal messages through facebook, so why not email?

    • Guest

      It’s funny to watch my teenagers totally ignore e-mail. They don’t use it, they won’t use and someone else needs to deal with it in their eyes. I used to e-mail or IM the kids links for things I thought they might like to read etc. Now days I have to log into Facebook and send them a message to ensure they read it. Gmail is built and designed by (boring)Engineers, many people just won’t like the way they do it.

  • http://www.shangriladayspanyc.com Kelsang Choden

    I don’t think G mail should be worried about face book email.
    There is something for everybody and after all Google is far more
    popular and better then Yahoo also. As the time goes by things have to keep changing, sometimes its for the better and sometimes its not. Life goes on:)
    Go G mail. keep your spirit up.

    All the best,

  • http://opensiteindex.com Open Web Directory

    Yahoo still remains the best email service. If facebook takes over Gmail, who cares?

  • Joe Public

    Both are run by same community people.

    We should wonder why only the web sites promoted by a micro minority community which constitute less than 2% of the population only succeeds like google and facebook? Reason is simple 11 out of 12 Federal reserve bank directors belong to this community, it is time to reconstitute Federal reserve bank director board to represent all groups of people proportionately.

    Slogan of the times should be – No taxation without proportional representation on Fed board….

  • http://dysf.info dypete

    “Mark Zuckerberg has specifically stated the company is all about consumers. His focus is leading them to greatness.””

    Well if you are looking for greatness in consumers, you will probably have to look very darn hard! And then wonder what it is if it is not a couple of random words stuck together with no meaning – really what a bunch of tosh! Can make money but not make sense hmmmmm.???
    Facebook is for boneheads who cannot use computers and came very late to the net and never got the hang of email. When I want the world to know my business….shoot me!

  • http://www.campingandhikingtents.com Ron Golbeck

    Nope… I never use it. I like Gmail simply because they were the first to offer the best email unlimited usage services… the rest charged what the market would bear. As for facebook. Too many security issues. Broadcasting my comments to everyone who searches is not my idea of a secure site.

  • Guest

    I could rant all day long about how much I hate Facebook, it’s pathetic design and even more pathetic security lapses but what I do not understand is why we all have blindly jumped on board?

    One day, years ago a bored retail analyst needed to say something smart to their boss. They were out drinking and had forgot to prepare for their meeting with the boss so they announced that the future of retail and all business for that matter will now take place in a social network environment. Such a far out statement could not go unnoticed, the boss thought it was brilliant and deemed that they must connect with Facebook. Other companies saw rivals jumping on Facebook so they did too, hey nobody wants to be left out in the cold right. Better to jump on board blindly rather than stop and look at what you are joining.

    My question is why didn’t WE stop this. We geeks and IT folks that advise our employers. Why didn’t we stop and ask ourselves if their is any harm being associated with this gaping flaw called Facebook. Why didn’t we put Facebook through the same rigors as we would any other 3rd party software being considered for our enterprise?

    Oh right because Facebook gets a lots of eyeballs so we too must be where the eyeballs are even if it means lost man hours and security risks.

    OMG I h8 FB.

  • http://www.kaminski-weddings.com KaminskiWeddings

    I think they have to many members to be woried about facebook

  • Guest

    You’re kidding! This is a joke! There will be absolutely no difference between FB’s or G’s webmail – FB already has webmail sys, so why are they bothering with a fully-fledged webmail?? No point at all. FB just want to have more data – imagine, using FB (or gmail) to comm with business clients, friends, family! – If you ask me, the best thing anyone can do now is stop using FB apart from keeping in touch with old mates – as in, say “hi” now and again, and that’s it – Gmail has one purpose for G – to simply serve ads – we know this already. Gmail, of FBMail, are not my idea of a service, simply because they exist only to serve the interest of one party.

    I’m telling you now, FB & G think that their services are the future, and I tell you – that their service paradigm is not going to last, simply because – as it is they who will own everyone else data, it will only be a matter of time until people begin to question this absurd “agreement” – would you trust a stranger with your personal data? No, that is common sense, nothing more

  • http://www.facebook.com/David.Stephen.Williams David

    I have almost stopped using Gmail and Picasa over the years and months since joining Facebook. Facebook makes it so much easier to contact friends and share messages, news, links, photos etc.
    OK, I do still use Google for search, but not much else, and I imagine I am far from alone!

  • Larry


    First off… like the site , I like your articles, Chris. Thanks… Will Facebook’s email service take over the world..No!… Just another app for the Facebook crowd… Like them ,use them ,hate them… Facebook has it’s limits too… can’t kiss your girlfriend or wife on the cheek through a app…. Thank God for that….. might get a little spammy….

    Thanks have a Great day….

    larry mac

  • 1derboy

    Google really has little to worry about from Facebook in the big scheme of things. For years Google has brought tools to the market to help both developers and users better use the internet itself. They’ve helped define the internet and the web as a wide open market for development and for helping to bring the little guy to the market of not only the little guys neighbors but also to the market of the world. When will everyone wake up and realize that Facebook is an even more strict version of AOL. They want to be a “gateway” to the web and be one stop shop for internet users.

    Let’s all think back about 10 years, there was a little company called AOL that tried to do the same thing and at one point actually achieved relatively large amounts of success and control at being the gateway for the internet to millions of users. I think we all remember a little deal called the AOL/TimeWarner Merger. A merger heralded to make the stock holders of each company millions if not billions of dollars in the long run, by combining internet media with televeision and movie media. Something that was missed by many because it happened in relative silence, was the split of AOL/TimeWarner that was completed last year. Surprisingly AOL at one time worth over 100 billion dollars in actual money, is still somehow making money for it’s stock holders, though it’s worth is somewhere down in the 2 billion dollar range, which is still a substantial sum.

    I’d love to see a comparison of “The Facebook,” as Mark Zuckerberg likes to call his company, and AOL. I know that Facebook has tons of traffic, but who cares about how much traffic a site gets that people are logging into repeatedly throughout the day to see how much fake money their farm made, or how big their mafia crew is, or just see what stupid things their “facebook” friends have said, done, or posted in the last 2 mins that they logged on. The sad truth is that Facebook as a company has not made one single dollar as profit above and beyond operating expenses. Not one. But let corporate giants continue to pump millions millions into a product with no actual value. Let Mr. Zuckerberg add on features like email, and picture posting, and games, and walls. No one really cares. I give facebook 5 years at most until its just like AOL, a company with lots of past glory and fame, but little return on investment for all it’s supposed potential.

  • Jtee

    I think gmail will be impacted, though users such as myself will just add another email account to the list. MSN, Gmail, Work email and other free webmail, heck what is 1 more. The only question is will I be able to combine my future facebook email with the rest?

  • http://www.sobrecroacia.com Croacia

    I’m not worried about new facebook mail.
    Wondering why facebook, still, didn’t offer some kind of search?!
    There is many peoples spending a lot of time on facebook without “time” to opening google page
    for search.
    Why facebook still didn’t offer some kind of search on their pages?
    It’s about few pixels space in header….also…with possibility to ad some kinde of adsense.
    Of course…probably, it will have some new algorithme for search and destroy many SEO ideas…but….

  • Guest

    This will only make it convenient to people not already setup with at least one email account. More and more people I know are using Fbook less and less already. Google search is great because it’s simple and it works. Fbook needs to follow suit. Just keep it simple that’s why we use it.

  • http://fromadrianlee.com AdrianLee

    Although there are overlaps as a service, Gmail (Google Products) are a business solution provider and as such should be used for your business needs.

    Facebook is a social network, and while you can conduct a marketing campaign on facebook, I do not think it is going to impact on business users that much. Facebook has issues of privacy, and how secure is facebook? It wants to be everything to everybody, and that will have more vulnerabilities in their system, as well as bugs.

    It is more an issue of perception, Facebook is everything Google was as a new kid on the block. It’s cool, relevant to social users. But the key word is social users, consumers. Facebook is just an additional marketing channel. Use them all!

  • Ally

    There is so much talk about Facebook privacy and security….and yes, if you not specifically aware of ticking all the right boxes and if you don’t know that you should be very wary of 3rd party FB apps then your FB privacy will be compromise…but even more so with gmail/google.

    Many of us have had our gmail accounts for years. Long before internet security became flavour of the day. So the layer of protection between privacy and hacking often often consists of knowing the anser to one secret question – set up when the account is created.

    So back to FB and there you find your old school mates and the picture of you all together as first graders.

    Back to gmail, where one of the 5 default security/secret questions are: What is the name of of your first teacher?

    That’s all there is to gmail security and if this poor person have google’s tracking of web history enabled…that is privacy being compromised in a big way. I’d a million times rather let the world knows what ‘i’m up to on facebook before letting them see what i’ve been up to while browsing the internet…click by single click.

    And I am sorry, if I am off topic here but I “trust” gmail far less than I “trust” FB…and apart from seaching I think the igoolge UI is poorly design in layout, functionality and visual appeal.

    Kind regards

  • tool

    Facebook should keep it’s part as a social site, these guy like yahoo, gmail they have been in the industry for so many years when it comes to email and they have faced a lot, security wise facebook is weak

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  • R Mas dhewe

    In several case facebook have another chance to make differentiation to interact users … web mail in facebook was presented on message service … webmail will not be able make more interested things …

  • http://www.saganwebdesign.com Sagan Web Design and Internet Marketing

    People HATE switching mediums… Google’s idea was by making GMail exclusive… Facebook they will have to get uber creative to get user to get off their butt and switch to a new email account…

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