Facebook continues their dominance in the social networking world by adding email to its arsenal and Gmail is squarely in its sights. The new messaging service was announced at an event held at Facebook corporate headquarters in California yesterday. The service is competing head on with Gmail and is supposedly secretly referred to as the “Gmail killer.”
Mark Zuckerberg stresses that it’s not what you think it is and it’s not designed to be a traditional email based messaging service. The service is going to be more along the lines of instant or text messaging. In this day and age it seems that people want or need immediate messaging and email is not real time. Instant messaging or text messaging is much faster and the technology is very different.
A recent 2009 survey showed that email use was the lowest communicative tool for young adults and teens – only 11 percent of these age groups use email, however 54 percent said they text daily and 30 percent said they use phones.
According to Zuckerberg, “We can do better.” He of course is referring to Facebook’s Facebook.com email addresses. Even though you will still have a facebook.com email address, you will not be restricted to the traditional email format. The new technology will offer three features that traditional emails services lack: a “social in-box” which you can filter to include messages from friends, seamless messaging from a variety of platforms including texting and SMS, and a conversation history from those various platforms.
Facebook has put together their biggest engineering team ever in order to get this project off the ground. They anticipate being able to support various devices such as iPads, cell phones, and computers through new software which will route all that data to one interface; your Facebook in-box.
The new service will not roll out immediately to everyone. A small group of users will be requested to beta test the service; however it does stand to state that there most likely won’t be a rush on facebook addresses. There are too many of us who have several different emails we use on a daily basis. However, at the rate Facebook is growing, it is anticipated that over time, more and more people will migrate to using Facebook due to its ease of communicative properties.
Is this how the future should work? Is email as important as it once was? We could look at the US Postal Service for that answer.