Facebook has announced a so-called “social inbox”.
When dissected, the announcement boils down to the introduction of Facebook Email.
Facebook already did SMS, on-site messages, and chat – that these are present in Facebook’s new all-in-one-view setup comes as no surprise.
The only really new player in their all-in-one-inbox is email.
Here’s why people are making a big deal about Facebook Email.
There are a number of things people do online: socialize, email, upload/browse photos, search, upload/browse video’s, and chat.
To do those things effectively, efficiently and pleasantly, people online have use a bunch of different websites/companies each of which offered the best dedicated standalone tool.
Facebook has changed that, replacing the daily go-to destinations of millions of people.
While among video sites Facebook ranks 3rd in the USA, in India Facebook already is the number one video site.
The instant messaging (chat) application and platform has been Windows Live Messenger with 330 million users. Not only did Facebook with 500 million users become the largest (Western) chat network (sending over 1 billion messages … a day) – but Microsoft (a Facebook partner) integrates Facebook chat in Windows Live Messenger 11.
Today Facebook adds email to that rapidly changing user loyalty picture of the world wide web.
Today it was email.
Could the world’s largest online social network offer better recommendations than Amazon?
Could your huge six-degrees-of-separation network unlock jobs and career prospects more effective than Monster.com could ever hope?
Could connecting people who want to sell something with people who indicated a want be done in a “seller seeks buyer” vs. “buyer seeks seller” model that eBay offers?
Could Facebook Credits make online payments better and more widely accepted than Paypal can be?
Could search be done better…?
Facebook’s Social Graph Gets LARGER
A social graph shows the way people are connected. A family tree is one form of a social graph.
As a social graph comes from your connections and the lists of your connections used to be everywhere, every provider had a partial view of your social graph.
Google might know which sites you visit (a part of a the online social world) but not who you email. Yahoo might have known your email contact list but not the people you chat with. And your favorite chat application might not have known who you call most often.
The aggregated or implicit social graph (your total social graph) exists only in theory: no one service has a full or near-complete view of it.
By also overtaking email and incorporating as many type of social connection streams as possible, the Facebook social graph of you and as a result of its whole 500 million user network becomes much, much more complete.
For example, Facebook will now know about connections and the strength of connections to millions of people outside of Facebook: people you email but who aren’t on Facebook. That’s huge as there are obviously still more people online than there are people on Facebook. Today those people got assimilated in the social graph.
Email is HUGE
Email is effectively the world’s largest social network and to date the most popular way of sharing content.
Email marketing remains the #1 social list-based money maker.
Obviously despite its oft announced death, email is still vey much alive and seems to be a technology and messaging platform to stay and reckon with.
When faced with making a choice between Facebooking or email, Facebook has made the choice for Facebooking and email.
What This Means To You
- Become part of the social graph
Messages from within a user’s social graph will be treated differently than messages from outside that graph. Getting people to Like your company will become more important. Playing six-degrees-of-separation will become tremendously important to your company.
- Get more opt-in
Getting on people’s white list will become more important.
Email filtered through the world’s largest social graph potentially equals the world’s most efficient spam filter. Don’t get caught in it.
- Better targeted ads
Facebook’s reach and precision in targeting ads will increase. Leverage the technology.