Facebook has launched a new messaging system modeled on instant messaging that will send messages to users no matter how they are using the social networking site. According to founder, Mark Zuckerberg, the system which was triggered by the need to cope with the increasing number of messages sent by millions of Facebook users everyday, “will handle messages across all the ways you want to communicate”. While the new system is “not an email killer, it includes email as part of it”. It will bring together four separate messaging types – SMS, Instant Messaging, email and Facebook chat.
The system focuses on three main points: seamless integration across multiple communications channels, a single conversation history, and a “social inbox” for filtering messages. Focused more on chat, the new interface does not include subject lines or cc fields. Instead, it unifies conversations that are happening through SMS, chat, email or Facebook messages. It also sorts messages, prioritises notes from close contacts while moving the remainder into an “Other” folder.
Furthermore, users can also use an optional @facebook.com email address. Rather than forcing users to make use of separate systems to communicate and send messages, the messaging system will work out the best way to get a message across to the recipient through a “policy-engine” thank knows how they prefer to be contacted. It remains to be seen what users’ reactions will be and how it will fare with other traditional email services such as Hotmail (361 million worldwide users), Yahoo Mail (273 million) and GMail (193 million) but at first glance the new product does not appear to be a game changer as earlier predicted by some Web analysts.
The product is expected to roll out slowly over the next few months on an invite-only basis with messages sent out to users to try it.
Are you excited by news of Facebook’s new messaging system? Would you get a – @facebook.com – email address?