Back in February we wrote about Facebook’s secret Project Titan — a web-based email client that we hear is unofficially referred to internally as its “Gmail killer”. Now we’ve heard from sources that this is indeed what’s coming on Monday during Facebook’s special event, alongside personal @facebook.com email addresses for users.
This isn’t a big surprise — the event invites Facebook sent out hinted strongly that the news would have something to do with its Inbox, sparking plenty of speculation that the event could be related to Titan. Our understanding is that this is more than just a UI refresh for Facebook’s existing messaging service with POP access tacked on. Rather, Facebook is building a full-fledged webmail client, and while it may only be in early stages come its launch Monday, there’s a huge amount of potential here.
Now all of the back and forth on data and particularly e-mail data portability between Google and Facebook makes sense. It made sense before on many levels but now this would appear to be the real reason behind this sudden squall over data privacy etc.
Obviously, there is nothing to know about this product offering from Facebook yet. The idea of Facebook having my e-mail activity, though, is not even close to being in the cards even of they put together the greatest functionality a web based e-mail client has ever seen.
Why? It’s about trust. I am not naïve enough to think that any e-mail provider I use is keeping all of my information and data private. Those days are long gone and I have just decided that in the Internet’s new world order I will accept a certain level of uncertainty about what is or can be done with my data. Despite a few major gaffes Google has earned my trust. I am not here to debate whether that is right or wrong. It just is.
What I don’t have is the desire to try to let someone else earn that trust. It has come over time and, once again whether it is accurate or not is irrelevant, I have afforded Google enough trust to have this important part of my online life.
Having said that there is no chance on this earth that I would trust Facebook with this valuable piece of my online life. No way. They have done nothing to earn an ounce of trust with their “Oh we’re sorry we didn’t know that was an egregious breach of privacy so we won’t do it again ….. wink, wink, nod, nod” approach to me as a Facebook user. Call it “Once bitten twice shy” or “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” but there is more than enough anecdotal evidence to say that anyone trusting Facebook implicitly with even more data is a fool.
Since Mark Zuckerberg didn’t get his degree from Harvard I am going to posit that he got his degree from Pink Floyd University. Why do I say that? Because aside from the “check to see if you have all of your fingers after you shake his hand” feeling I get about him and the incessant ass-kissing by many of the higher-ups in the Internet inner circle, the following lyrics from Floyd’s aptly titled song “Dogs” describe how I picture him and the culture that truly exists at Facebook.
And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.
Over the top? Sure but when hasn’t Facebook been to this point when it comes to the data it is entrusted with?