Social networking giant Facebook announced today it will be rolling out what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called a "modern messaging system," according to several news reports.
The system will reportedly have three components: 1) seamless messaging in four formats, including e-mail, chat, Facebook messages and text messaging; 2) a social inbox to keep those messages and filter them so that they are free of spam and only show messages from friends or friends of friends; and 3) conversation histories for people users interact with, according to TechCrunch.
All Facebook users will now be able to get "@facebook.com" e-mail addresses, though they will not be necessary to use the new system. The addresses will match users’ public Facebook user names.
Zuckerberg stressed, "This is not an e-mail killer. This is a messaging experience that includes e-mail as one part of it," according to tech blog TechCrunch.
For example, an e-mail could be received as a text message and vice versa.
"People should share however they want to share," said Facebook engineer Andrew Bosworth.
Facebook will roll out the system on Facebook.com and on the Facebook iPhone app over the next few months, TechCrunch reported.
Of Facebook’s 500 million users, 350 million use its current messaging system, and those people send more than 4 million personal messages or instant messages a day, Zuckerberg said.
He recounted conversations with high-schoolers that inspired the idea. Younger people think e-mail is "too formal" and "slow," he said, and favor the immediacy of text messaging. Facebook’s new messaging system is modeled after instant messaging platforms and works in real time, he said.
The messaging system will be compatible with Microsoft Office so that users can view Word, Excel and PowerPoint attachments in Facebook itself. Users will also be able to view photo and video attachments, according to reports.