Facebook is attacking traditional email and collaboration


With last weeks announcement by Facebook of 100 million active users it seemed like a good time to review the impact of this particular social tsunami on business electronic communications and collaboration.
The Facebook phenomenon is well documented so I won’t bore you by examining where its origins lay. Of much more interest is where it is now and where its going to.
At the moment FB users don’t get a ‘@facebook.com’ email address, but for how long? Full 2-way delivery of SMTP email it is a logical extension for the ‘internal’ messaging environment that is already effectively moving millions of FB users away from traditional messaging platforms. 
It just needs attachments and bang – look out Hotmail and crew.
Putting Groups together whether public, by invitation or private in Facebook is a synch. 
Okay content sharing is almost non-existent other than with social media. It is probable that either through plug-ins or through native Facebook apps this short-coming will be addressed. Then it is not difficult to envisage the ‘Y’ generation and the businesses they create or join seeing this as a perfectly acceptable way to collaborate on a daily basis.
With a few more features, such as the handling of unstructured content, FB collaborative capability will become unleashed. With this we will start to see new behaviours coming from the next generation of graduates.
Presence awareness and chat
This has been a recent addition to the Facebook portfolio. Again it is quite primitive right now but considering the delta that Facebook has been following for the last couple of years I expect that this will move on dramatically in a short period of time. It is not hard to imagine n-way chats plus video coming along from FB in the near future.
What’s holding this back?
Well it’s the same set of brakes that is the limiting factor for Google based collaboration. Ownership of data, security, privacy, control and features (I am sure I could think of a few more), the difference being however smart Google is (and it is very smart), Facebook has access to a key emerging demographic in a way that the whole industry envies.
The challenge to Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Google et all is to keep their products relevant and flexible and develop equivalent intuitive UI’s that the next generation of prospective CEO, CFO and CIOs will consider to be ‘fit for purpose’ when they take hold of the reins.
How do you see Facebook’s potential for impacting on business collaboration?

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It's an annoying fad. Annoying in that I need auditability of email and centralised management of mail trails, with mobile access. Facebook cannot give me this seamlessly and I think that until it does, which of course your article posits as near incoming, serious users will stay clear. Facebook is compartmentalised and I think once something is in a box it is hard to break out of that box. Ben
geeze what's so good about FB, realy? How hard it to nip over to yahoo or wherever? and check your mail there. Not everything has to happen on FB, there is a whole world of internet out there.