Facebook announced today that they will be fundamentally changing their messaging system to include an email service, text messaging and instant messaging system.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new messaging system at a special press conference. During the event they revealed the social network service’s soon to be rolled out system. Users can communicate with their friends via chat, email, Facebook messages or text message. The message will delivered from your chosen method of communication to the other person in their chosen method. My email will go to your cell phone and your text message will show up in my chat window. it is intended to be a unified messaging system that caters to the individual’s preferred way of sending and receiving messages.
Every member of Facebook will be given a new email address using their chosen Facebook identity. So if your identity is facebookfan, then you will have the email address [email protected].
The email system in Facebook is going to be different than typical email. It will be organized by people instead of by subject. So all the messages, text messages, chats, and email between an individual and their friend will be organized by that friend’s name instead of subject. A single thread of all of the message history will show up. Also there will be no copying, blind copying, message titles or many of the traditional things we find in email. It will be that person and the message that we see in a full thread dating back to the first message.
By default when you give out your Facebook address it will receive message from whomever sends you a message. However, if a user changes their privacy settings they can filter out email so that only those who are their friends or friends of their friends will be able to send a message to a user. All other messages will be marked spam and eventually deleted. This is essentially an automatic email whitelist with your friends and their friends automatically put on the list.
The inbox, called the Social Inbox, will only show messages from your friends and your friends’ friends.
To show where FAcebook is hoping to go with their service and the message built into it is this quote:
Relatively soon, we’ll probably all stop using arbitrary ten digit numbers and bizarre sequences of characters to contact each other. We will just select friends by name and be able to share with them instantly.
That sounds a lot like they are intending to replace all means of interpersonal contact like phone numbers and other email messages. They hope to be able to have everyone contact everyone via Facebook. But some may question whether users should trust their sensitive communication to a company that seems intent on sharing all they know about users with their advertisers.