Much in the way that Google has linked Google Plus to Gmail accounts, Facebook is reaching out to email in order to integrate user timelines with Facebook email accounts. What’s that, a Facebook email account? That’s right, you have a Facebook email account (really, just look at your profile!), and this email address will now be visible to anyone who checks out your timeline.
Facebook announced the email/timeline synching feature today in a press release, and the new feature will be visible to the world within the next few weeks. If you take a look at the press release, you’ll see a timeline example that showcases a person’s Facebook URL name and that person’s Facebook email address (the two are the same). Basically, Facebook wants to make it easier to send someone an email based on that person’s Facebook URL – if you can remember someone’s URL that is.
Why The Linkage?
Isn’t it glaringly obvious? Facebook wants to be your number one email provider. If someone visits your timeline and sees your Facebook email address, they can send you an email to that address. Any emails sent will be placed in your Facebook inbox, so accessing these emails will be easy. However, I wonder how many people will switch to using a Facebook email account in lieu of, say, a Gmail account. I’m guessing that you’ll only hand out Facebook email addresses to those people you don’t really want to stay in touch with – does this sound about right?
It’s also interesting to note that Facebook is obviously feeling the pressure from Google. Google has done a good job of cramming its Google Plus services down Gmail users throats, though this really hasn’t been met with too much enthusiasm. Why then is Facebook trying to emulate what Google is doing, if Google isn’t having any success? This seems like a strange tactic to say the least. Speculatively, Facebook is worried that some users might move over to Google Plus if the rumors about Facebook becoming more controlling in the wake of its IPO are true (also, many aren’t thrilled about Facebook’s takeover of Instagram). Will Facebook users seek out another social network soon, and, further, will that network be Google Plus?
Will The Email Tactic Work?
Will Facebook successfully hang onto users with the new email/timeline synching feature? I’m slightly doubtful that this will actually work. In fact, I’m guessing that most people won’t use a Facebook email address at all. On the flip side, if you want to change your current Facebook URL name, you can go to the Facebook homepage right now and try your luck. Within a few days, the name that you currently have will become your Facebook email name and that name will stick.
This writer never really thought that Facebook had anything to worry about where Google Plus was concerned, but, clearly, Facebook doesn’t share this attitude. As mentioned, the new Facebook feature will be rolling out over the next few days, so keep an eye on your timeline. Note: you can’t remove the Facebook email address from your timeline, I’ve tried and failed.