Today Facebook unveiled their new “modern messaging system” that promises simpler real-time communication across any medium or device. Speaking at the press event in San Francisco Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is quick to confirm that this is “not an email killer”, but “a messaging experience that includes email as one part of it”.
So what is it? Essentially it’s a simple communication tool that integrates many different formats – email, chat, and SMS.
The premise behind the improved Facebook messaging product is all about making communication simpler. Zuckerberg states that a “modern messaging system” must be simple, seamless, informal, personal, and immediate. To achieve this Facebook Messages employs three things: seamless messaging, conversation history, and a social inbox.
All messages, regardless or medium, are kept in a single social inbox. Messages are sent and received in real-time through whatever medium or device is convenient to the user.
The new Facebook Messages includes conversation history so messages with someone will be accessible from one place, whether they are sent over chat, email or SMS. This adds an extra level of context to communication using the Facebook platform.
To ensure that messages from your best friends don’t get “sandwiched between a bill and a bank statement” Facebook have included the social inbox. This essentially introduces three inbox folders: the main Messages folder that includes messages from the people you most care about, the Other folder that collects messages from people that may not be in your social graph, and a Junk folder with an intelligent filtering system based on the pervasive actions of those in your social graph. One of the most important features of the social inbox is the ability to reject messages from email addresses that aren’t in your friends list, or in your friends of friends list if you wish.
Each Facebook user will be issued with an optional @facebook.com email address, although any address will work with the product. According to Andrew Bosworth, Director of Engineering at Facebook, the product will be rolled out slowly over the next few months on an invite only basis.
Here’s an introductory video to the new Facebook Messages. Share your thoughts in the comments.