PRIVACY SHEDDING SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook is gearing up to launch a full-fledged email service.
According to Techcrunch's sources, the firm has been working on Project Titan, a complete web-based email client within its Facebook software and will be offering facebook.com email addresses to its users. The website is also reporting that analysis of events, photos and friends on Facebook can be used to analyse email and sort messages by what it believes is the highest priority, something that doesn't seem creepy at all.
Facebook has penciled in a major press event in San Francisco next Monday, with invitations giving strong hints that it has something to do with email or messaging.
Should Facebook move into the webmail arena it won't be a big surprise, after all Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have to varying degrees integrated social notworking features into their webmail systems, with Google's now infamous Buzz creating havoc for the firm. Last week Google settled a class action lawsuit that alleged the firm automatically enrolled users into Google Buzz and exposed users' Gmail contact lists without their consent.
More recently Google and Facebook have been at fisticuffs over the export of Gmail contact data to Facebook. It led to heated exchanges between the two firms boiling down to the fact that both feel that the other isn't reciprocating the ability to share contact data. Now, with rumours circulating of Facebook looking to compete with Gmail, one can see why both firms have employed protectionist policies to safeguard profitable data.
The majority of Facebook users who don't care one bit about their privacy are unlikely to give a passing thought about the ramifications of giving the firm access to their emails. That might mean that the firm could get away with doing what it likes, for the umpteenth time. For Facebook, being able to analyse its user's emails will provide it with another means of capturing very profitable private user data.
That's not to say Google is a saint when it comes to acquiring and using user data, however given Facebook's recent track record, it seems to be a better choice out of a bad bunch.
Monday is looking likely to be the day when Facebook reveals yet another way in which it can someday 'mistakenly' abuse user data. µ
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