I'm fascinated by how technology's center of gravity shifts over time. For a long time Microsoft was the 900-pound gorilla (careful where you stand -- it's got a bad case of gas). More recently Apple and Google have taken turns dominating what we talk about when the topic is tech. Now it's all Facebook, all the time.
In case you missed it, today at 10 a.m. EST Facebook will unveil "Project Titan," a Facebook-based Webmail system -- aka, the "Gmail killer." Or so I've read about 10,247 times since last Thursday. Hope I didn't shock you with that one.
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In a few hours we'll be taking a blogbath in whatever news Facebook spills out onto the InterWebs, along with endless analysis, parsing, regurgitation, entrail readings, and lists of five reasons/questions/whatevers churned out by bloggers who are clearly paid by the page view.
Before we get into that, though, let me rant a bit about the Gmail Killer trope that spread across the Web last weekend like a bad rash. Here's a news flash for lazy headline writers: Gmail is not dead, nor is it in danger of expiring any time soon. FaceMail or Fmail or FBmail or whatever Project Titan ends up being called is as likely to send Gmail to the great hereafter as Gmail was to whack Yahoo Mail or Yahoo Mail was to snuff out Hotmail. Free services never die -- they just become disposable tools for spammers.
Gmail is unlikely to suffer that fate, though, because it's been adopted by small businesses in a way that Hot/Yahoo have not, and because it's kind of essential to anyone who owns an Android phone -- which will soon be the majority of smartphone users, if current trends hold.
So enough of that.