updated 01:50 am EST, Sat November 13, 2010
More Facebook e-mail details leak
Facebook's fledgling e-mail system was given unofficial but potentially corroborating support this evening through a new leak. Along with backing the use of @facebook.com addresses for the new service, two anonymous sources said the future platform wouldn't be stand-alone like Gmail or Hotmail but would instead integrate tightly with the existing social network. What special features it might have over regular e-mail weren't mentioned by the New York Times tipsters.
The updates at the scheduled Monday event would bring more than just e-mail, the sources said. These too weren't explained, but they would "greatly expand" communication on Facebook beyond the simple instant messaging, direct messages and wall-to-wall posts that define Facebook today.
Speculation has existed that Facebook might prioritize e-mail based on whether or not it comes from friends and how closely connected other contacts can be. Notifications may also play a larger role with ways to quickly address Facebook updates from within an e-mail message.
If closely tied to the regular network, the e-mail wouldn't be directly comparable to what Google and Microsoft do today but could threaten their businesses by giving users more reasons to stay on Facebook for most of their communications. Word of Facebook's plans may have been partly responsible for Google's decision to escalate a fight over shared data by blocking the regular option of exporting contact info to Facebook under the guise of keeping data open. Facebook has objected and has gone so far as to implement its own workaround that gets Google contacts through a file export.
Representatives hadn't commented on the rumors and weren't expected to do so. The Monday event starts at 1PM Eastern.