A unified inbox of your digital conversations would be a dream come true. Imagine never worrying about tracking your conversations. Whether you’re texting now or emailing later, you could find everything in one place. Imagine never remembering contact info, just a name to make contact.Facebook is making these things a reality for its 500 million users with the latest updates to Facebook Messages.
A Modern Messaging System
First things first, Facebook announced that users will now be able to get a @facebook.com email address. Meaning no one has to be a Facebook user in order to contact you if you choose to grab it. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, there are three things that create a modern messaging system:
- Seamless Messaging
- Conversation History
- Social Inbox
With these three social elements Facebook is turning Messages into a convergence system that handles your conversations seamlessly from SMS, Email, and Facebook Messaging services (chat & messages). You’ll have a history of your conversations across any of these systems no matter which was used. The social inbox will allow messages from specific friends to be filtered and sorted into folders with the click of a button.
Despite Facebook’s remarks about Messages not being email, huge cues are taken from Google’s email service, Gmail. Real-time messages updates have been integrated just like in Gmail. So, if you’re replying to a friend and they send an update, you’ll receive it immediately. Messages filtering system is also reminiscent of Gmail’s Priority Inbox for sorting emails .
What’s Lacking In Facebook Messages
- No imap support
- No support for any other social network
“The goal is to have it feel like a conversation,” but it ends up feeling like a monologue with Facebook’s messaging products. Where’s the social activity in that? That’s an echo chamber. Facebook claims to be waiting on user feedback to take things to the next level, but only time will tell the truth about that remark.
Can Messages become a true social inbox? The goal is great and lofty, but Facebook gets in its own way on many levels. The biggest is the noticeable absence of other other social networking integrations. No tweets, no Kiks, not even an a place for your photo conversations. Facebook falls short of its own goal by limiting exactly which conversations they’re interested in. Not very modern thinking to me.
What Facebook Messages Could Become
Facebook Messages is rapidly moving towards a very Minority Report like world. Imagine just needing a name and only a name to talk to someone. It’s just like real life right? You don’t really need to know my name to talk to me on the streets. It’s creepy coming from Facebook, but a close example of how communication works in the real world.