Facebook Refashions Messaging

By Cindy Waxer November 15, 2010

Facebook has unveiled a new messaging platform that more closely resembles messaging than e-mail. According to the Facebook Blog, using this platform, “You decide how you want to talk to your friends: via SMS, chat, email or messages. They will receive your message through whatever medium or device is convenient for them, and you can both have a conversation in real time. You shouldn't have to remember who prefers IM over e-mail or worry about which technology to use. Simply choose their name and type a message.”

Facebook is also providing an @facebook.com email address to every person on Facebook who wants one. “Now people can share with friends over e-mail, whether they're on Facebook or not,” reads the blog. “To be clear, Messages is not e-mail. There are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key. We modeled it more closely to chat and reduced the number of things you need to do to send a message. We wanted to make this more like a conversation.”

Tapping into its users’ messaging habits is a key growth strategy for the social networking giant. Consider this: 350 million of Facebook’s estimated 550 million users rely on the site’s inbox and send four billion private messages a day through its system.

Unlike e-mail correspondence, Facebook hopes this new platform will facilitate a conversation among users. “They will have the conversational history with the people in their lives all the way back to the beginning: From ‘hey nice to meet you’ to ‘do you want to get coffee sometime’ to ‘our kids have soccer practice at 6 pm tonight.’ That's a really cool idea,” reads the Facebook Blog.

The messaging service also promises users greater control by allowing them to change their account settings to bounce e-mails that aren’t exclusively from friends.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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