Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Facebook Mail, the Beatles and Dumping Electronics

Did the title catch your eye? There have been plenty o' changes in the tech world this past week, the most significant of which is, of course, the Beatles coming to iTunes at last. (Well, not really--unless you're a die hard Beatles fan. Earlier today, Apple was drumming up as much interest as possible, promising a "Day you'll never forget." I'm sorry, but I think this date will easily slip my mind. It's not like ten years from now, I'll look back fondly on November 16, 2010 as the day the Beatles came to iTunes. Sheesh.)

No--the real news is that Facebook is entering the email fray. They just announced that a secret project they'd been working on (codenamed Titan) is starting its slow roll out, first to specific users, then to friends of those users, and ultimately to the entire Facebook world. Now, this isn't exactly email. They're billing it as a way for Facebook users to coordinate all their conversations with friends. It's a hub for SMS, chat, email--all the ways we communicate with each other today. And it's supposed to filter things into three categories: stuff from actual friends you want to hear from, stuff from other people, and spam. You'll always read the first, sometimes the second, and never the third.

Will it work? That remains to be seen. Before the news conference, I wondered just how they might "improve" email. I was skeptical, but I'll admit that the idea at the core of this project is intriguing.


Facebook doesn't exactly have a stellar reputation when it comes to privacy and the public. I wonder if all the techies are going to be eager at all to entrust the big blue and white giant with all their personal communications. Remember a while ago, when Google Wave was supposed to be the Big New Thing? It's pretty much dead in the water now. That said, if this really offers something significant and useful, then I could see it taking off. If/when I get a chance to use it, I'll post my thoughts on it.

And last, I wanted to show a video that impressed me quite a bit this week. We all focus on eating green and and trying to live green, but this points out the need to alter the very way our society approaches the creation and use of electronics. Things need to change, and this is coming from a big time tech gadget junkie.

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