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Facebook Messages Is Cool But Email Isn’t Going Anywhere !

In this article we will tell you about facebook messages email service. 

Yesterday, Facebook unveiled their much hyped Messaging system(also dubbed as ‘Gmail killer’ by many) to media people and after seeing every bit of it, I have a strong feeling that ‘Facebook Messages’ will emerge as a winning deal for Facebook.

But it’s not there yet. Facebook says the newly launched service will be rolled out to all of its 500 million users within coming few weeks or so. In other words, the whole universe of Facebook will not get the new service immediately. It will be a gradual rollout. So right now, you can’t just go and try things yourself.

Rather, you can read about the Messaging system Facebook has built for its users. So here we go…

Facebook Messages:  An Overview

In the generation of Web 2.0, sophisticated emailing tools, smartphones and Social networking, Facebook thinks about ‘communication’ a whole lot differently. According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Communication among people needs to be simpler and more unified than what it is now.

Currently, our communication, according to Zuckerberg, is fragmented. We communicate through various devices via different methods, namely IM, SMS, email or Facebook messages(he didn’t care to mention ‘Tweets’ by the way).

In general, we use

  • Email accounts to send/receive emails,
  • IM clients/emails/phones to have ‘real time chat’
  • Mobile phones for sending/receiving SMS
  • Facebook for sending/receiving Facebook messages and so on…

Now, Facebook wants all of the above to happen right within your Facebook account. No matter which person you want to contact(Facebook friend/non-facebook friend/professional contact), what exactly you want to send/share(text/document/image/audio/video), which mode of communication you want to use(email/IM/SMS/FB message), all should happen and be controlled by yourself, right within your Facebook account. And that’s what Facebook Messages is all about.

With Facebook messages, Facebook is looking to simplify(over-simplify?) the conventions of communication we are used to. No subject line, no cc, no bcc, just the ‘text’. Further, seamless integration with Office web apps will make sending/sharing/viewing Microsoft Office documents(doc,xls/ppt) an enjoyable experience for Facebook users.

Very soon, Facebook will also start providing email addresses to Facebook users to be able to receive emails/IMs/SMS, dubbed as Conversations from people residing outside Facebook.

Overall, Facebook Messages aims to be a One-stop-shop for all kinds of communication we do within our social/professional circle.

Facebook Messages: Main Components

Facebook Messages comprises of three major things:

  1. Seamless Messaging
  2. Conversation History
  3. Social Inbox

Seamless Messaging: Already explained above, seamless messaging simply means that Facebook Messages will provide a unified way of communicating with anyone(facebook/non-facebook users), without bothering to use some specific hardware(phone for SMS) or software(email account for emails) while writing your message.

Conversation History: With Conversation history, all your conversations with any specific individual will remain united & documented, no matter which mode of communication is used and when. Whether it is SMS, chat, email or FB message, everything will be documented right within Facebook.

Social Inbox: With Social Inbox, your Facebook friends will have a priority in your Facebook Messaging system over other contacts/conversations. All your conversations with your Facebook friends(any mode) will land in your Social Inbox(higher priority) while other communication(official emails/sms) will land in different folder. Having higher priority, Social Inbox will remain your default messaging experience.

Why Facebook Messages Isn’t a Gmail Killer

First of all, it was awkward for me to hear Facebook messages, being dubbed as a Gmail Killer. If it were to kill email system completely, so Yahoo mail, Hotmail, Gmail, Aol mail and every other smaller email services would be affected, not just Gmail, right.

Also, Zuckerberg himself clarified this point to media that Facebook Messages is no Gmail/email killer. However he admitted that utility of current email systems could come under question if Facebook messages succeeds in a big way.

In my opinion, Gmail or any popular email client will not be ‘killed’, even if all of 500 million FB users embrace Facebook as their primary communication tool, which, in itself, is extremely improbable. But again, Facebook Messages may succeed in stealing the limelight from current email services and eventually boost overall utility of Facebook  as a Must-have web utility (just like Must-have online tools that only Google happens to own).

In my view, here’s why Facebook Messages is NO Email killer

  • Too casual to have a business communication : Facebook messages is meant to be more casual in approach than an email communication. As most business communication is done through emails today , the major utility of email services is still seen in being a business communication tool rather than casual one.
  • Current Email services are smarter: I see ‘Social Inbox’ for Facebook Messages as ‘Priority Inbox’ for Gmail. ‘Social Inbox’ sounds great when personal relations are concerned. ‘Priority Inbox’ works great when professional links/emails are concerned. And I happen to be satisfied with Gmail’s smart Priority Inbox, that learns from user behavior and self-optimizes future communication as per user actions.

With this service launch, Facebook is really gearing up to dominate all our communication mediums in a big way. But always remember that unified services, although being more comfortable to use, also makes you highly dependent on them. Facebook, still a casual service in my opinion, hasn’t graduated to handle all my communication, especially work related.

If Google doesn’t counter-act fast enough, future may be different than now !

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