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Facebook Looks to Integrate Email Into Messaging

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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.

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