Bebo, an Almost Universal Inbox
While the thought of a Universal ID that allows us to manage our online lives with the convenience of one singular password continues to be discussed, AOL has taken a slightly different tact, taking that essence of that idea and offering it all in one place. They are attempting to revive the Bebo franchise that they purchased earlier this year for the hefty price tag of $850 million by transforming the beleaguered social network into a universal inbox, almost. Though users will have the ability to see their information from a variety of sources - including Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, Twitter, Flickr, Del.icio.us - updated in on place, the site has chosen to leave its two biggest competitors – Facebook and Myspace – out in the cold. Whether or not this cagey maneuver is the right one, remains to be seen. They were, however, smart enough to allow those already on AOL and AIM to login with their existing screen names. A decision that should be attractive to users who are wary of the thought of having to sign up for one more service. This model is compelling and if it can successfully deliver on its lofty promises, we may be friending each other on Bebo might just become the next big thing.