Today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a major overhaul to the social network’s messaging system, and it’s certainly not a ‘Gmail killer’ as expected.
The amazing thing? That’s not the overhaul’s intent–in fact, Facebook dubbed it ‘the modern messaging system.’ Zuckerberg doesn’t believe that email is the way of the future, so he designed the new messaging system to function (and look) more like chat than Gmail.
So what exactly is the difference between Facebook and regular email? It incorporates emails, Facebook messages, SMS, and other chat clients. Eventually VoIP may also be in play. Instead of having some chats here and some texts there, every time you talk to someone it will become part of a stream of information.
And while you can collect it all at an @facebook.com email address, it’s not mandatory. You can redirect your Gmail messages there, for instance. Also, an iPhone app update is being developed that incorporates Facebook Messages.
Other differences between Facebook Messages and email include no subject lines, no CC, or BCC. You can send a message just by hitting the Enter key. Zuckerberg wasn’t kidding when he said Messages won’t be a Gmail killer. For at least a couple months, Messages will look far more like Yahoo Messenger than Yahoo Mail.
One of the best components of the new Facebook feature is how wonderfully organized it is compared to any other messaging experience to date. Facebook will introduce the Social Inbox, which sorts your personal messages, prioritizing notes from friends and setting aside people you aren’t as close with. The default setting is very private, which is a very good thing, meaning that only messages from friends will be seen (and ‘junk mail’ will go to a separate folder).
Facebook’s making it clear with Messages that it has its eye on the future, as a new generation increasingly abandons email as an option for communication. By staying a full step ahead of the competition and adding a whole new set of features to its messaging portfolio, Facebook is positioning itself to be more like Google, and less like MySpace.
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