Cloud Computing: RockMelt Shows How Facebook, Social Networks Could Replace E-Mail
Gartner on Nov. 11 said social network services could replace e-mail for 20 percent of business users by 2014, spurred by the popularity of consumer social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Together, those two social networks have more than 700 million users, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that a good majority of social networks users will eschew e-mail for those Web services in some cases. The number could be greater than 20 percent if Gartner were not accounting for large enterprises where the corporate mandate is to use officially sanctioned tools such as Microsoft Outlook or IBM Lotus Notes for collaboration. Yet a blurring of the lines is underfoot, with Microsoft and IBM providing hooks into social networks to let users socialize their e-mail and collaboration workflows. Of course, a lot of these transitional technology trends begin in the consumer sector, which is where the new RockMelt Web browser comes in. RockMelt is essentially the Chrome browser wrapped in Facebook platform. Users can find content they like and share it by messaging contacts in Facebook, Twitter and other social sources. Over time, it's not impossible the RockMelt will become a trusted browser that businesses may install on corporate computers to let workers communicate. This is predicated on getting all business users in a company to join Facebook. In the meantime, check out the findings that Gartner unveiled at its Symposium/ITxpo 2010 in Cannes, France.