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Facebook Looks to Integrate Email Into Messaging

David Gilbert


Facebook Looks to Integrate Email Into Messaging

So it’s not an email killer. It’s not even an email service, except it really is. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has just announced a new messaging service which will work within Facebook and integrate all your various communication in one place.

The new system, codename Titan, will bring messages from IM, email, Facebook and SMS into a single inbox which will then display a single thread of each conversation where users can search through the total history of their conversations with each person.

Users will also be offered @facebook.com usernames though it is not necessary to take up the email address to use the new system. Zuckerberg and Andrew Bosworth, Director of Engineering both emphasized that this was not a new email system and was something completely new.

The Social Inbox section of the new system will see a system similar to the Priority Inbox in Gmail allow users to filter the messages sent to them depending on who is sending the messages. The Inbox will have messages from "friends and friends of friends." The Other folder will have messages from people who are not friends and is not junk mail. Bosworth said he saw people looking at this folder once a day. The final folder will be Junk which is similar to a Spam folder in normal email systems.

Zuckerberg told the assembled journalists at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that the idea came to him after talking to his girlfriend’s sister who was in high school. “I asked the high school girls what they were using at the time?” - a question that could be misconstrued if it were anyone else but Mark Zuckerberg behind the microphone.

The high school girls said they were not using email because it was too formal and not instant enough. They were using IM and Facebook to communicate. According to Zuckerberg, 350million people are actively using messaging on Facebook and 4billion messages are sent everyday on the site. A number which has been increasing dramatically in the past few months.

This project which has been more than a year in the making and saw over 15 engineers working on it full time – which was the largest team ever assembled by Facebook. The team totally rebuilt the infrastructure to support this entirely new piece of technology, which was “built from the ground up.” Zuckerberg was questioned about the privacy aspect of importing contacts and messages but avoided the issue slightly.

The system will be rolled out slowly over a period of months and will initially only be offered by invite to a select few – we here at TrustedReviews are just sitting by the door waiting for the gilded envelope to drop through the door.


November 16, 2010, 1:00 am

You guys got any knowledge of who I have to beg to get <firstname>@facebook.com?

David Gilbert

November 16, 2010, 1:42 pm

@Ryan Unfortunately, unless your name is Beelzebub or maybe Damian you don't have much hope. You could always send Zuckerberg an email just in case. He said at the press conference last night that the staff at Facebook would now be using @fb.com email addreses so I presume his is God@fb.com. Best of luck.


November 16, 2010, 4:21 pm

A somewhat novel idea, but does anyone actually /like/ using the Facebook site? I mean other than for Facebook stuff?

I just still don't like the look of it or the way it works no matter how many times they redesign it, so I definitely wouldn't want to manage my emails from there.

Or to put it another way, I'd much rather Facebook feeds and messages plugged into something else, rather than the other way around.


November 16, 2010, 5:19 pm

So, does this mean that facebook chat is actually going to work well from here on in?

@Ryan - I would imagine that if you already have an "alias" set up (I think they're called aliases, where you can set up your profile to be www.facebook.com/MrFlibble - for example) then that alias would be your email name.

@DrDark - No. No I don't. That said, depending on what you're doing, the website can be a step up from any of the mobile apps that I've used!

On a related note, any one using Safari/Chrome/and-I-think-Firefox should grab the Better Facebook extension/plug-in/wot-not. It has far too many options, but can make the site a little more informative...


November 16, 2010, 7:47 pm

@drdark - I don't think I have a choice. I either submit to pier pressure or I end up with no social life.

Anybody else see the web splitting in three? Google / Facebook / Everybody else?


November 16, 2010, 8:12 pm

Just as I thought, you won't be able to use a mail client. Any attempt to disintermediate Facebook.com just wouldn't be acceptable to Zuckerburg.


Google is a sprinboard to other sites but Facebook really do seem like they're aiming to be THE internet as far as their users are concerned.


November 16, 2010, 9:41 pm

Very much a BBC style report with little commentary, I guess that's coming in a bigger article for the weekend?

@rav: they say IMAP support is coming in the future.

I find the integration with Office Web Apps interesting and something few people are commenting on. It's very much FB+MS vs Google here, MS's 240$ million 1.6% share of FB is obviously paying off.

This is also amusingly slightly what Google had attempted with Buzz & Wave; except FB look to be doing it more intelligently by integrating it all together. Google have great ideas, throw things out in beta half baked and then people loose interest because the product just wasn't ready. FB sat on this and waited til they had it ripe, I think that's the better policy and while I normally am not an FB fan, I think they're doing it right here.

If only someone would get rid of Zuckerberg, he's a right sleaze (no i've not seen The Social Network - just watching him is enough).

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