Facebook Combines Messages, SMS, E-Mail

Facebook announced Monday a new version of Messages, the company’s in-service messaging solution. The company is effectively combining SMS text messages, e-mail, and Facebook’s original Messages into one service that puts all your incoming messages in one in-box, and allows you to control from whom you get those messages.

“To be clear, Messages is not e-mail,” the company said in in its announcement. “There are no subject lines, no CC, no BCC, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key. We modeled it more closely to chat and reduced the number of things you need to do to send a message. We wanted to make this more like a conversation.”

Be that as it may, users will get @facebook.com e-mail addresses, and people from outside Facebook’s community of 500 million users will be able to use that address to send you messages. Facebook’s users will be able to see those outside e-mails, as well as in-Facebook messages and incoming SMS text messages, all in one in-box, with all of the messages organized around people, as opposed to Subject line (there is no Subject line).

“I’m intensely jealous of the next generation who will have something like Facebook for their whole lives,” Facebook engineer Joel Seligstein said in the blog entry announcing the service. “They will have the conversational history with the people in their lives all the way back to the beginning: From ‘hey nice to meet you’ to ‘do you want to get coffee sometime’ to ‘our kids have soccer practice at 6:00 PM tonight.’”

Which may be a reminder that Facebook archives everything forever. Of course, so does Google.

The following video is an explanation of the service.

Facebook Messages promo video