Facebook’s much-hyped email service is here. But it’s most definitely not the epic Gmail rival that some tech fanatics were hoping for. In fact, it’s more of a reboot of the entire Messages offering on the social network, allowing you to access Chat, Email and text messages all in one place.
At the heart of the changes is what Facebook calls ‘The Social Inbox’. This means only messages from your friends, and their friends, will show in your main mailbox. Spam, or mail from people who aren’t on Facebook, will land in the ‘other’ mailbox. However, these can easily be moved to your main folder and you can tweak settings to allow as many or as few important messages through into your central inbox.
There’ll be full conversation history access, so you can see all of your messages with one friend, or a group, in one place, whether they’re emails, texts and IMs. And best of all, messages don’t just have to come from the Facebook service, so your pals who aren’t on board can still get hold of you easily.
And while all Facebook users will be able to get an @facebook.com email address, Zuckerberg and co are keen to emphasise this isn’t your standard email offering. There’ll be no cc or bcc functions and you’ll be able to send messages by simply hitting enter. Rather, this is a way of bringing together all types of messaging in one place and not prioritising one over the other.
The service is due to begin rolling out ‘in the next few months’, and while you won’t be able to plugin mail clients owing to a lack of IMAP support, Facebook says it will eventually play nice with the likes of Mail and Outlook.