Facebook’s “Email System” is Way More than Email

This morning we let you know that Facebook was making an announcement about their much anticipated Project Titan, a rumored web based email system that would challenge the likes of Gmail & Yahoo. Well folks, the rumors weren’t exactly accurate. Project Titan, or “Messages,” in and of itself isn’t a self-proclaimed “email killer” as much as it is a convergence conversation system. According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook will bring in SMS, email, IM, and Facebook messages into one place.

Facebook's Email Convergence System

“Messages” Foundations

Seamless messaging – “Messages” will integrate across four platforms, listed above, into one singular system. The new platform will enable sending and receiving of all four forms of messaging. Messages no longer live in independent homes – your email account, your Facebook page, your phone – but will follow you to where you are depending if you are on or off-line, or if using a Facebook app on a smart phone.

Conversation history – The new messaging system will enable users to track all communications in a single thread, going across all platforms; a “box of letters,” if you will. This history will provide context to not only conversations, but relationships.

Social Inbox – There will three different inboxes categorized by conversation type: messages, other, junk. The first will group close friends and priority conversations. The second will comprise of messages from acquaintances, group messages, fan page messages, etc. The third is obvious: junk! The user will have control over who is categorized where, and can drag threads to different inboxes. Facebook will also allow users to bounce and filter messages from those you don’t want to hear from. This makes for a spam-proof and potentially much more private system than regular ol’ email.

Rollout

Facebook isn’t planning on rolling out “Messages” immediately or all at once. It will be an invite-only system for a bit, allowing users to give feedback and for Facebook to make necessary changes before opening it up to the general public. And while we want to be a part of that invite-only community, we think it is smart for Facebook to work out the kinks of the system before inviting the world in for criticism.

The Future of Email

Don’t worry, email isn’t dead. However, we think that this changes the way that friends will communicate with one another. Email, on the other hand, will take on a different set of priorities, maybe taking on more of a business role, enabling business partners and coworkers to maintain contact with each other. “Messages” will be used more for personal conversations with close friends.

Marketing Implications

As marketers, we must always be concerned about what Facebook changes mean for our clients. However, this new messaging system doesn’t alter Facebook’s awesome advertising platform. Ads will appear just as it did before: on the side bar. The content of the conversation will not play a role in the advertising displayed. The same old rules apply: content inputted into Facebook by the user will dictate advertising targeting options.

Our one critique is that it equalizes all forms of conversation. It assumes that people want to have the same kind of communication all on one platform. It doesn’t enable the ability to choose what topics you discuss over different platforms: it is all incorporated as one. Regardless, we think the ability converge on multiple platforms has great potential.

What do you think? How will this affect the way you communicate with your networks? Will you opt in to an @facebook.com address?

14 responses to “Facebook’s “Email System” is Way More than Email”

  1. Cole Watts says:

    Personally I think e-mail has been limited to professional use for awhile and I have to agree with something Mark said…this is mainly for short and quick messages. I do not see this replacing email at all, especially long form of e-mail such as attachments and junkmail.
    The real thing to watch though, is the tween market who does not quite have e-mail yet, but does have a Facebook account. I can see them instantly using Facebook as their primary form of e-mail and keeping it for many years to come.