Gartner said social network services could replace e-mail for 20 percent of business users. RockMelt could facilitate this by letting workers message each other through Facebook or Twitter.
Thanks to the seepage of Facebook and Twitter in
enterprises, social network services could replace e-mail for 20 percent of
business users by 2014, Gartner said Nov. 11.
that e-mail giants Microsoft and IBM are connecting with their e-mail
apps with social networks to make contacts, calendars and tasks shareable.
Microsoft is already doing a bit of this with Outlook Social Connector
and LinkedIn for Outlook Connector in Office 2010,
which let users access profiles, updates, photos and activities from those
The data point is timely in the wake of the
of the new RockMelt Web browser Nov. 7.
Based on the Chromium open-source project that supports Google's Chrome browser, RockMelt surfaces
Web pages like its rivals but connects with Facebook Platform.
RockMelt lets users share information on
Facebook and Twitter within the context of the browser window.
Users may click on profiles to chat with contacts, share
links via Facebook and Twitter, add new feeds and preview search results on
Google all from one social palette.
What does this have to do with Gartner's contention that
social networks could replace e-mail in many businesses? Over the last several
days of testing, eWEEK has found that RockMelt replaced our Outlook inbox functionality
in many instances.
Since many of our eWEEK colleagues are also contacts in
Facebook, eWEEK was able to shuttle colleagues content right from the browser
Specifically, we reporters share a lot of links with our
peers. There are several ways to do this.
We can send users embedded links in direct
messages via Facebook or Twitter, but this requires opening another browser
tab. So we tend to copy and paste the links into Outlook.
Because RockMelt lets users leverage the direct message
capabilities of Facebook and Twitter, users who also connect with their
business contacts via those social services can eschew Outlook to send content.
This may not be what Gartner had in mind when it said 20
percent of business users will use social networks for messaging instead of
e-mail, but it's another example of how the consumerization of Web services can
bleed into the enterprise.
Over time and with strong adoption, it's not impossible to
think RockMelt will become a trusted browser that businesses may install on
corporate computers to let workers communicate.
This is, of course, predicated on getting all business
users in a company to join Facebook.