Stuart Freen is a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday that the site’s instant messaging system will soon be getting a major overhaul. The revamped system aims to integrate email, instant messaging and text messaging, and will offer users @facebook.com email addresses. Analysts suggest the move will put Facebook in direct competition with existing webmail providers including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.
Zuckerberg touted the new service as being tailored towards social media-savvy young people who find traditional email “antiquated”. Washington Post columnist Rob Pegoraro notes that the service lacks many advanced email features and won’t be a viable replacement for heavy email users.
Competition between internet giants Facebook and Google is heating up. Rumours were swirling all week that Facebook would introduce a “Gmail killer”, referring to Google’s hugely popular webmail client. Google recently blocked Facebook from importing contacts from Gmail, arguing that Facebook was not reciprocating. Google also denied rumours last week that it was developing a new social networking service to compete with Facebook.