Two years ago Facebook announced the launch of its new Messages service. Facebook’s Messages service began by slowly rolling out Facebook emails for all users, then integrated email, SMS and IM messages and then quite recently added video chat via a partnership with Skype.
Right from the beginning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg specifically said “This is not an email killer” yet the media took the angle that it WAS an email killer. Articles were written in the thousands, all comparing Facebook Messages with large email service providers such as Gmail.
Facebook surely looked like it was going to be serious competition to its competitors. But two years on is this still the case? Is there real competition between Facebook Mail and Gmail? which is the best? There’s no better time than now to find out!
Both Facebook Mail and Gmail are really good visually. Facebook stays true to its trademark white space with a hint of blue look, whilst Gmail keeps it simple with a classic email client design with an added bit of flavor.
Both Gmail and Facebook mail are very minimalist, which is great as everything is organized well and they are extremely easy to navigate around. When it comes to visuals it is hard to say which out of the two prevails. Due to this reason neither comes out on top.
Storage space is a big decision maker for many people when it comes to email and messaging. Everyone wants to know that they have enough storage so that they can keep all their important information and look back through conversations whenever they wish.
Gmail offers 10 GB of free storage for messages and attachments, which is a reasonable amount for the majority of people. If you do need extra storage it doesn’t cost much to upgrade.
Facebook on the other hand doesn’t disclose how much storage users have. Their rule is that as long as you don’t abuse it you will be fine. Facebook is a huge company and I am sure that they have loads of storage, but by not telling users how much storage they have it all sounds a little odd. On this front Gmail definitely wins.
Prioritization & Spam
Gmail is notorious for its for its priority and spam features. You can label messages as important, which Gmail will then remember, so all important emails in your inbox will be easy to see. You can also star items, which essentially performs the same job and the spam feature is incredibly clever.
Facebook is great for prioritization and spam as they collect a wealth of data on who your friends are. They use things such as Facebook Likes and tagged photos to work out who your friends really are. They can then use this data to display messages from the people you interact with the most and to get rid of the spam messages that you may receive. Because of all the data that Facebook collects when it comes to prioritization and spam they are the clear victors.
Sifting through emails, IM’s and SMS messages can be a time consuming process. This can soon escalate when the content of messages demands that tasks have to be completed, appointments need to be arranged and numbers need crunching.
When it comes to this Facebook becomes pretty useless. Sure you can attach files to messages but when it comes to organizing things it isn’t much help. Gmail is the complete opposite as it is incredibly useful when it comes to productivity. Gmail has Google Docs integrated meaning that you can collaborate on projects in real time straight from an email. Another brilliant feature is that Google Calendar events can be created straight from emails. At a click of a button a task or event can be added to your personal calendar. Where productivity is involved Gmail leads the way.
Facebook Messages has done away with subject lines and the ability to CC and BCC messages. This means that you can no longer send a message to numerous people and keep their identity and details anonymous. As subject lines are gone the purpose of the emails cannot clearly be seen. Some people prefer this as interactions are organized in terms of people rather than subject.
The other big problem with Facebook Messages is the email address that Facebook assign to you. Because Facebook has so many users and there may be many who have the same name as you in some cases it becomes impossible to have a reasonable email address. Instead of being able to have yourname@Facebook.com you may be stuck with something like y0urn4m3@Facebook.com, which isn’t professional in the slightest. On this note Gmail is the better option as it still has all these original and important features.
Conclusion : Overall Gmail seems to come out stronger than Facebook mail. However as Facebook mail is so much different from your standard email client it is hard to make a direct comparison. In some ways it is a competition but in other ways it is not as it is a completely different thing. What are your thoughts Facebook or Gmail?