Facebook wants to change the use of emails

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Facebook Messages offers a new way of textual conversations: communication between the two ones, regardless of the medium and the device. Is this a step forward for Facebook in the battle for supremacy on the internet?

Long awaited event on Monday under the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco cause a lot of noise, but so far revealed little. In anticipation we were expecting Gmail Killer, but we only see the demo about novelty, which will be introduced gradually over the next few months. So only after a while I can write about it, if this would be new Google Wave or Buzz or it will change our communication ways.

The war between Google and Facebook

Recently, the war flared between Google and Facebook in terms of (not) permit to export Facebook contact email addresses into Gmail. Google and the rest mail systems allowed Facebook all this years access to email address for sending an invitations to join FB social network, but contacts exports from Facebook to Gmail are still not allowed. Now Google has decided that it’s enough and requires reciprocity to permit Facebook access to Gmail user’s contacts again.

Gmail Killer

Before announcement we can read rumors that this would be Gmail Killer and will swept away Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail too. Will Facebook indeed be dominated with its email? Indeed, each FB user will be able to get Facebook email address, but it will not be a classic email client. Facebook Messages will change our vision on how we use emails.

Facebook is working closely with Microsoft

We have already seen results of collaboration with Microsoft FUSE Labs early this year in April 2010 when they showed the mashup between the Office Web Apps and Facebook. On docs.com we can create or add Excel tables, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations directly from FB profile.

We can publish files on Docs.com, FB tabs or just keep for your eyes only. We can restrict access to individual friends, FB groups, all friends or for you only. Just click and we can see all public documents from our FB friends, if they published any. You can also add a pdf file and tags to enable faster discovery of documents by topic.

In my case only one FB friend published publicly one blank file for test, and because his from MS, he was business imperative to do testing.

Facebook Messages – Social inbox

Combines text-based communication:  FB messages, SMS, IM and FB Chat. The goal is a simple way to communicate with someone who is close to us, regardless of device used by that person. Mark Zuckerberg said in presentation that it’s not Gmail Killer ant that is not expected that everyone will immediately moved from other mail systems to this FB service. Communication will also be able to those who don’t have FB profile.

New messages (texts chat and email) will be united into one:

  • •    all messages will be combined (control over who can send a message to us)
  • •    conversations history (saved all the conversations with friends in one place)
  • •    show only the messages we want (only from selected friends and the rest in another folder or even is marked as spam)

Cooperation with Microsoft now provides even deeper integration with Windows Live Office Web Apps. We will be able to add Ms Office documents into messages and use documents preview.
Jabber will be used for chat like Google Chat use it and soon will be available IMAP protocol for email, so that we can directly access our Facebook email from mail apps (outlook for example) and smart phones.

If someone will comment our FB status and we will not be logged in, we can quickly respond back via email or SMS.

A new email @facebook.com and @fb.com

All FB users will get email address profile name@facebook.com. Mail Contacts export will be allowed, but only those with the domain facebook.com, so FB remains an intermediary. Sending spam will be disabled; receiving messages will be only possible from friends and friends of friends.

Even the FB employees are getting a new domain for email address. Using the short name for Facebook the new email is @fb.com. What email system do you think they use for communication in Facebook company? They use MS exchange 2010.

And why changing the mode of communication?

Mark Zuckerberg believes that email is too formal for most FB users. Facebook Messages will not kill Gmail, but it wants to reduce the role of email in our lives, which can be very painful for large email systems like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.


Works as system engineer in Slovenian Enterprise in Microsoft environment focusing on security, deployments, SharePoint, SCCM and CheckPoint firewall. Author of successful blog about IT security, Microsoft tips & tricks, social media, internet trends.

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