Will Google hit ‘Send’ for mobile, social Gmail application?

8 02 2010

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will tomorrow announce more “social” features to Gmail, such as status updates and sharing content. Considering that Gmail is a primary, free email service, this is a really great innovation for consumers. It also threatens dominant, dedicated social networks like Facebook and Twitter unless they too can be integrated into the Gmail social streams. Hopefully they will be.

What about mobile? Currently, Gmail can be accessed by every major mobile platform through IMAP setting, but I think that a social Gmail would require an entirely new application to utilize more rich functionality. This provides Google an opportunity to differentiate Android with a best-in-class social Gmail experience and extend its presence on other phones like Blackberry and iPhone with must-have social Gmail applications — like it has with Google Maps.

At risk will be those computer and mobile applications like TweetDeck and Tweetie that already aggregate social feeds like a social Gmail would, but don’t provide that core email service to complement. Also at risk are mobile check-in applications like Foursquare, which would have a hard time competing with a social Gmail mobile application that has the same GPS functionality and services (maybe without the gaming/novelty component).

Speaking of services, this is where a social Gmail mobile application could really excel. With its recent acquisition of AdMob, Google is ramping up the mobile advertisement services. By drawing from a pool of data drawn from a connected social network, email and search, the ad services could be incredibly targeted and sink the competition.

Social Gmail may be an evolutionary step for the email platform, but it could be revolutionary for Google’s mobile strategy.




3 responses

8 02 2010

I have been finding myself recently on Gmail more than any other email services I once used. Also by responding and communicating with colleagues, friends and professionals on Gmail it seems natural that they would enter the social stream category. You raised some very interesting points as far as mobile applications and how Google can use this new service to expand its entry into the mobile advertising industry.
Great post!

8 02 2010
Amy Rainey

Of the many posts I’ve read about this, yours brought up the most interesting applications of Gmail’s new social features. I’m pretty excited for this to launch. I spend all day with Gmail, and Gchat is how I communicate with my close friends and some coworkers. Sure, I’m friends with them on Facebook and I follow them on Twitter, but Gchat is where we have actual personal conversations. If this new “module” can replace Tweetdeck and other aggregators while existing in my Gmail window, well, I’m not going to ever get anything done again. =)

9 02 2010
Melissa Bird-Vogel

Awesome point about Android leveraging this new Google Buzz social foray to different themselves. If the positive buzz about Buzz is close to accurate, I think this is a great idea for Google to really stand out as a leader in mobile social networking. Thanks for bringing the mobile tie-in to this industry news!
However, it could really be bad for me, as Amy above pointed out – sometimes I just want my email and don’t want to be connected b/c then I end up ‘wasting’ a lot of time IMing w/friends and colleagues vs. nose-to-the-grindstone with work.
I think the future of collaboration will expand w/Google Buzz on the desktop – and hopefully encourage professional collaboration vs. silo-ing social media for personal communications.
thanks again!

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