By Marty Malone
Facebook will soon be giving all of its users an email address – @facebook.com – in hopes to add an email service to its already massive social networking ecosystem.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans for a new “modern messaging system” earlier this month. He envisions a system that will bring all types of communication – email, chat and SMS (text messaging) – together into a seamless online service.
There are currently more than 500 million members on Facebook, and according to Zuckerberg, over 350 million of those members are using the website’s current messaging system. He added that users are sending 4 billion messages a day.
At the unveiling event, Zuckerberg laid out three key elements for the new modern messaging system; seamless messaging, conversation history, and a social inbox.
Seamless messaging hopes to combine the new email service, the current chat and messaging features, along with SMS (text messaging) all into a unified communication system. The goal is to combine all of these different forms of communication, so that when one user text messages another user who’s currently online, that user can then easily email back a response and it will go straight to the original sender’s cell phone.
“We want people to not have to think about this stuff,” said Zuckerberg.
For conversation history, Facebook will keep a record of all its user’s messages. An example at the press event time lined the communications between a boyfriend and girlfriend from when they first met up until they moved in together.
The third element, the social inbox, will strive to make the most important, personal messages show up at the top of your new inbox. Facebook hopes to accomplish this by using various algorithms it’s created to know which people you keep most in contact with, and what messages you would most likely want to see first.
These three goals were made clear by Zuckerberg when he told the audience about a talk he had with high school students about how they communicate with each other.
“Email’s too slow,” Zuckerberg remembered the students saying. “It’s too formal.”
This new system will strive to keep conversations between users short, sweet, and to the point.
Users shouldn’t have to worry about the formalities of the modern email anymore, Facebook thinks. This means no more subject lines or formal greetings and sign-offs.
“People should share however they want to share, if you want to send me an email and want to get it as a text message, it should work,” Facebook Product Manager Andrew Bosworth added.
In order to accomplish this new modern messaging system, Facebook needed to build a completely new messaging infrastructure. It took the biggest engineering team (15 engineers) to complete the new product.
The new system will be rolling out to users within the next few months.