Houston: Popular social networking site Facebook on Monday night come out with an improved messaging platform which aims to provide users with more than just an e-mail application.
The new messaging system envelopes e-mail, instant messages, Facebook messages and SMS to help users communicate faster and more seamlessly with their friends.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the site is rolling out a whole new messaging system over the next few months that "isn't just e-mail," but integrates four common ways users communicate on Internet: email, Facebook messages and chat, and SMS, and archives it all in a single thread.
Swatting down recent rumors that he is launching a 'Gmail killer', Zuckerberg at a Facebook event in San Francisco said "This is not an e-mail killer... This is a messaging system that includes e-mail aspects to it."
Zuckerberg said project "Titan", as its service is called, was taken up after high school students, in chats, said they seldom use e-mail because "it's too slow" and "too formal."
The new system puts a user's identity above the communication protocol.
Facebook engineer Joel Seligstein said, "You decide how you want to talk to your friends...They will receive your message through whatever medium or device is convenient for them and you can both have a conversation in real time. You shouldn't have to remember who prefers IM over email or worry about which technology to use. Simply choose their name and type a message."
Messages are received in an inbox, but it eschews the conventions of e-mail and Facebook messaging (subject lines, recipient/cc/bcc fields), and instead turns all conversation into a chat, where the conversations are merged. So, if one is conversing over Facebook chat, then the switches over to a mobile device, the conversation stays in the same place, except it is being sent through SMS.
It currently handles the four different methods of communication, but as it rolls out, it will also become a sharing and collaboration platform.
Microsoft, which holds a stake in Facebook, has announced that it is integrating the Office Web Apps experience into the new messaging system. Users will be able to share Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents in Facebook messages, and download them to their desktops.
Facebook's new messaging system will be rolled out to different groups of users over the next few months, and will include a new mobile app and @Facebook.com email addresses for interested users. The addresses will be available to all irrespective of the whether they are Facebook users.