Will webmail services be the next social networks?

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inbox-20.jpgThe New York Times’ Bits blog has an interesting piece about Google and Yahoo’s plans to turn their webmail services (Gmail and Yahoo Mail respectively) into fully fledged social networks.

Google’s plans are a bit vague, but Yahoo is actively working towards a concept it’s calling – with crushing inevitability – ‘Inbox 2.0’. Boiling it down, the idea is that emails from your best contacts will be displayed more prominently, and you’ll be able to click on people’s names to see their profiles. And stuff.

Actually, this sounds a bit vague too, not least because even on ‘personal’ webmail services, the most important emails aren’t always from the people you email most often. And whether the profile idea works if lots of your contacts don’t have a Yahoo account is another question. And there’s the privacy aspects, and…

Basically, I’m not sold on the idea. I’m all for integrating my webmail with my existing social networks, but joining an entirely new one? Hmm. What do you think?

(via Bits)

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Stuart Dredge