Gmail Killer? Facebook Rolls Out the Next Evolution in Messages

This morning Facebook announced the rollout of the next evolution of Facebook Messages; a platform that is already being dubbed “The Gmail Killer.”

According to Facebook’s CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg, this is not email, but rather simple, seamless conversation.   Zuckerberg says that this platform enables users to have “conversations with people that they care about the most no matter what method they prefer to communicate.”

Facebook’s new mail system will have three primary features.  1.   Seamless Messaging between multiple channels 2. Single Conversation History, and 3.  The Social Inbox.

This platform integrates four different conversation channels;

  • text messaging,
  • instant messaging,
  • email and
  • Facebook messages.

The idea is that people can have a continual conversation with each other on whichever channel they prefer.  For example, you can start the conversation via email, but then continue it via text message.  Facebook’s goal is to make it feel like conversation, to be a “real-time, immediate personal experience.”

Another major difference between Facebook mail and other email is that instead of having many emails in your inbox from the same person, all with different subject lines, you’ll only have one continual thread per person.  The idea is to make communication “simple, quick, timely and fun,”  said Zuckerberg.

Facebook mail will also integrate a Social Inbox filtering system.  Because the goal of the system is to allow people to have conversations with people you care about the most, by default  the filter will put the conversations with the people you care about the most at the top of your list and into a special folder (i.e. friends and friends of friends).  Other conversations, such as those from people not marked as “Friends or Friends of Friends” will be filtered into a folder called “Other.”    Users will have their own Facebook email address, i.e. [email protected].

According to Zuckerberg, the program will be rolled out slowly, over a period of months, with first adopters joining by invitation only.  You can request your invite here:  http://www.facebook.com/about/messages/

While Zuckerberg doesn’t think that Facebook mail will be the death of traditional email platforms like Gmail or Yahoo Mail, currently Facebook mail does not sync with other email programs.

How will this new evolution affect email marketing?  What do you think about this new evolution of conversation?  Your comments are welcome.

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