Facebook is rolling out an update to is messaging system, the motivation behind it is that “email is slow”. It’s not slow in its delivery – but Facebook’s CEO points out that email is very formal and has a lot of “friction” that gets in the way of making your point. Facebook wants its Next-Gen messaging to be: seamless, informal, immediate, personal, simple, minimal, short.
The new system adds email to the list of messaging medium that Facebook supports, but stresses that *this is NOT email* – even if people will be able to get a facebook.com email address. Facebook has been building a new infrastructure and the new system will store and keep track of all your communications, “forever” (except if you explicitly setup Facebook that don’t want messages to be stored).
Email: what about email SPAM? For Facebook, it’s simple: they know who you know, and they can use that information to weed-out SPAM emails by simply not letting messages from unknown sources go through (you can opt for receiving email from anyone, but then you will be more vulnerable to SPAM).
The idea not to simply create “Fmail” (a Gmail competitor). On the contrary, this is no ordinary email. You get a Facebook email address so that people can send you a message from email. However, the conversation will stay very Facebook-centric. This is essentially an extension of the current messaging system, except that you can now use email, a tool that billions are familiar with. Finally, With email comes some perks like file attachments. This is something that’s missing in Today’s Facebook.
Beyond email, you can also decide at “compose time” if the recipient should receive the message via email, SMS or other means that Facebook supports. In time, Facebook might even decide by itself which medium is the best one to use.
Social Inbox: it is how Facebook sort messages, in three categories: Messages, Other and Junk. You can move a recipient to any category at anytime. Facebook lets you decide if you want to receive email from everybody, or just from your friends.
Clearly, Facebook doesn’t expect a massive exodus from existing emails. At the moment, the new email system isn’t compatible with IMAP but Facebook is looking at how to make its system work with existing protocols.
Conclusion: This is a cool evolution of Facebook’s messaging system, simply because email has been worked on to death and it’s the one universal electronic communication tool. Often, it’s much faster to send an email instead of launching the Facebook app, or even the site for that matter.
Facebook will roll this out progressively, if you want in, you can request an invitation on the Facebook Messages page.