Israel Innovation 2.0

Inside Israeli Technology

Browsing Posts tagged Gmail

**The following relates to the enterprise but is not directly related to technology companies or people in Israel.**

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Every so often I like to share my thoughts on Facebook’s future and where I think it is going in regards to the enterprise and in general. My biggest prediction in the past has been that in the race to gather the world’s information, Facebook and Google are at opposite ends of the information spectrum when it comes to social and computerized gathering and are bound to clash at some point. In light of Facebook’s recent failed attempt to buy Twitter, here are three things Facebook is likely to do or should do in the future based on this recent and other not so recent news.

1. Enhanced human-powered search, via Twitter-style comments and features
As mentioned, the inspiration for this post is that in recent days there has been talk of Facebook’s failed attempt to purchase the social networking/micro-blogging site Twitter in exchange for stock options. The exact plans Facebook had for integrating Twitter, which is primarily used by business and technology professionals to communicate with one another and who commonly share links to relevant information on the Web, may be unknown, but it is safe to assume that Facebook would have somehow integrated the rest of the technology into its status feature (which currently only enables users to comment on them). Twitter’s appeal is that being a site that relies on user interactions and content, it is the ultimate way to share information and help people find useful information on the Internet.

Regardless of the failed deal, it seems that Facebook will continue to develop Twitter-like technology on its own and roll it out as soon as it can. As it already has the status feature, and comment feature, its first focus will probably be to add a way to search your own past statuses as well as those of your friends.

2. Enterprise-friendly collaboration. Goodbye GMail.
Ever since companies started creating networks on Facebook, I’ve been waiting for Facebook to announce its creation or plans for creating a special platform for enterprises. The platform could serve as a low cost intranet system for companies and allow for better collaboration and communication among employees within such companies. If Facebook changed its messaging system into a full email application it would already have the other communication means, such as chat and video chat apps available to make collaboration easier and possibly a little more fun.

Also, if Facebook wanted to take GMail straight on, it could partner with Microsoft (who it partners with for search results and advertising) and develop an online version of MS Office that it could offer on its enterprise platform for collaboration. Of course, back in October 2008, co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz and colleague Justin Rosenstein left the company with the desire to build an online “enterprise productivity suite” that will from the outside (using Facebook Connect) complement the non-work-related social aspect of Facebook.

3. Calendar
Who doesn’t like Facebook’s events feature? It’s easy to create, access and share. Most important though is the access. Unlike Google Calendar or other calendar applications, the events are integrated throughout Facebook making it easy to access from the search bar or when you’re on the homepage after signing in to see what upcoming events there are for that day and the next few. While it is great the way it is, Facebook Events can still be improved to act as a full personal planner by making it possible to synchronize non-Facebook events with Facebook as well. Perhaps one way this could be done is with an “Share to Facebook Events” widget that could be placed on other websites.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

About the author: Lisa Damast is the Membership Manager of ebizQ.net and currently resides in Israel. Any questions or inquiries regarding this blog or ebizQ membership services can be directed to her via email at ldamast (at) ebizq (dot) net. She can also be followed on Twitter, where she covers additional Israeli technology companies and Israel-related headlines and topics.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the popularity and excitement surrounding the iPhone and Google-lead Open Handset Alliance would be indirectly beneficial to Israel’s Infogin, a company whose Internet Mobile Platform provides users with a better mobile web experience without their buying a new phone or upgrading any firmware on a phone. A service that might work well with it is mobile “seamless messaging” service, Tjat.

Mobile Marketing Magazine reports (via Startup Israel) that Tjat’s service has launched on Vodafone Live! and will be providing Vodafone in the Czech Republic its full range of services. According to the Tjat website, its services include:

tCHAT:

“The TJAT mobile IM solution, mobile operators can offer their subscribers quick and affordable access to the world’s most popular IM services from ICQ®, MSN®, Yahoo®, AIM®, Chikka®, and Google Talk®.”

tMAIL:

“The TJAT mobile email solution allows customers direct, efficient, connectivity to any portal/ISP email service, including popular ones like Google®, AOL®, Hotmail® and Yahoo® or any other POP3 subscriber mailbox.”

tSPACE:

“A full remote media and file library that can guarantee availability and management from any device with access to TJAT services (mobile handsets, landline phones, desktops, set top boxes). Available handset memory is no longer a constraint when on the go.”

Of course, the Israel R&D-based all-inclusive mobile messaging service is also working on adding more social networking sharing abilities to its mix. Until then, stay tuned and here is a link to diagram from the site that maps the services visually: http://www.tjat.com/innerData/images/dia01.jpg

News:
According to a Globes article, Israeli Internet portal, Walla! is continuing to lose ground to the most viewed site in Israel, Google Israel.

Background:
Walla! was started in 1995 by Erez Philosoph and Gadi Hadar as an index of Internet sites. Today it is an Internet portal that offers news coverage of Israel and the rest of the world as well as additional original content in all of its portal fields. After going public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in 1998, Walla! worked with mobile carrier, Partner to create the first wireless portal for smartphone users in Israel in 1999 and merged with Israel On Line (IOL) in 2001. For several years, Walla! was the most visited website in Israel until Google past it last year.

Analysis: Walla! is the Israeli version of Yahoo!

In an entry posted earlier this year, Darnell Clayton of IsraGood alluded to Walla’s heading for the fate of becoming the Israeli version of Yahoo! I strongly agree that Walla’s history mimics Yahoo’s in several ways.

Since it tried preempting Google’s Gmail with its own free 1G e-mail account for users worldwide in 2004, Walla! has placed itself as a direct competitor to Google and has allowed its users to associate and compare its service with that of Google’s. So far, we all know who won that battle.

During that battle, Walla’s claim was that as Gmail was just starting, it would focus more on text and basics in email, whereas Walla’s email service was more established and allowed multimedia in addition to text in its email. Despite that campaign not working out, Walla’s most recent announcement is once again a multimedia claim.

According to a Globes article earlier this month, Walla! has launched a new “Video Talkback” feature to provide viewers with “the option of responding with video clips to programs and items appearing on the website.” What impact this will have on users on the site and if it will attract more viewers will need to be seen.

However, the marketing and target audience for it might be a little more different this time. Last week, a posting was sent to the Digital Eve Israel listserv about an opening at the company for an English-speaking marketing communications manager with a reply address to international marketing at the company. What Walla’s marketing department has planned for the next few months in response to Google Israel’s gaining ground and in support of its new “Video Talkback” technology will certainly determine whether Walla! can catch up to and possibly overthrow Google Israel and regain its title as most-viewed site or if it really will become the Israeli version of Yahoo!