Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Facebook Messages: now comes with email flavor

You would probably heard of by now that Facebook rolled out @facebook.com email address to all 900 million Facebook users.  If you are not sure what your @facebook.com email address is I suggest that you look up your Profile Contact Info Section.  It should show a new email address that Facebook slipped in there for you.

Facebook becomes full web mail service;
look for anti-spam war in your Facebook
messaging inbox soon.
This time Facebook showed a sign of maturity, and had my new Facebook email as visible only to me.  If it were early 2009, I would have expected it to be visible to everyone but maybe shown in jpg graphics (Facebook used to display user's email address as image to prevent spammers from scrapping Profile sites).

Why would Facebook give up their own @facebook.com domain for all users?  What would Facebook gain by giving everyone an email address?  Isn't Facebook all about short status updates and messaging?

Answer is simple.  Facebook wants users to use more of their messaging tool.

Even though teens and twenty-somethings use messaging way more than email, there are tons of older people who are much ingrained with email.  Think of all those early days Blackberry users.  Add to them all enterprise employees.  There are still way more people whose primary mode of communication is email.

I know from my personal experience that how hard it is to change the way you communicate with people.  I've tried many times unsuccessfully to break those habits or even channel those communications to enterprise social platform, but it's not easy.  What seems to be no brainer as sharing PowerPoint slides back and forth, I still see many people relying on email to share copy each time.  As much as that is moronic, pilling people away from tool that works for them and that they are used to is very very hard.

Facebook is trying to branch out to those people.  Those all users who are more comfortable with emailing back and forth can use Facebook as web mail service.  Thanks to Facebook, we now know every 900 million users on Facebook has one @facebook.com email address.  I can send messages to any of these email, and instantly I can exchange messages with people on Facebook.

No more trying to convince fifty something users to switch to messaging and sharing.  Instead you can just send them an email.  Effectively Facebook is federating with all web mail providers because backend mail protocol is what we have closest to truly network agnostic communication medium that we have today.

That is why Facebook decided to create 900 million email addresses.  Facebook is now a new web mail service in addition to all the other tricks under its belt.  This makes total sense.

Now some spammers must be seeing golden opportunity.  Let's see how they come marching in.

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