That’s the detail of the newly unveiled “modern messaging system” from Facebook. But what does it all mean?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggests it is based on the way high school students communicate. According to their recent feedback to him they don’t like email “It’s too formal” Zuckerberg noted. Yet, Zuckerberg was also at pains to state “this is not an email killer” it was the “messaging experience” email included that he was unveiling, to make communication simpler.

The key factors for communication of the future according to Zuckerberg:

* seamless
* informal
* immediate
* personal
* simple
* minimal
* short

So Facebook under this new project is to offer seamless messaging, conversation history, and a social inbox. The idea is it is cross-media: email, chat, SMS — all kept in a single social inbox. Plus all of your conversation history with people is kept in a central location.

To my own eye that seems a logical move, the kind of way your brain would link information. You don’t store all your SMS chats in one part of your memory away from all the email chats, you store them according to conversations and who they were with. Conversations no longer end when you put down the telephone receiver. You might very well follow up with an SMS, or chat using an online messenger. It’s those often fragmented ‘gems’ that Facebook aims to collate and store for you to readily refer back to.

It is all about encouraging 365/24/7 communication and as part of that Facebook is set to soon launch an updated iPhone app too. There will also be @facebook.com email addresses available too – although how and when these will be allocated are yet to be seen, the allocation procedure for Facebook pages has been complicated enough! You won’t need a Facebook email address to use the tool. you can use any address. The big issue with that and the whole concept however will be privacy. The word most often thrown at Facebook by its detractors, the impact on privacy of communication is unknown as yet but is sure to become a hot topic again as Facebook rolls out this new project over the next few months.

Meanwhile, hot on the heels of Facebook attempting to change the way we chat, Apple has posted a cryptic message on its Web site, teasing the world about an “exciting” iTunes announcement that’s coming in the next 24 hours. If you’ve not yet seen the rumours, suggestions range from The Beatles back catalogue finally becoming available to iTunes, to the potentially MP3 killing streaming music service. We’ll hold off our comments on this one until the final announcement (3pm London Time today) as we’ve given up second guessing the Apple marketeers, but as Christmas draws near, the competition for brand awareness is certainly hotting up in the internet arena.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s messaging system?


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