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Facebook launches integrated messaging service

Facebook Messages to bring together chat, text and email into one social inbox

Facebook launches integrated messaging service
Facebook Messages will make communications faster and simpler, says Zuckerberg.

Facebook has announced a new email service, which it says will improve the way people use messaging.

The new Facebook Messages service will tie together text, SMS, online chat and traditional email, and deliver them all to a single ‘social inbox', to make communications simpler.

Speaking at a launch event, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook said that the service will make messaging faster and easier.

"Maybe we can help push the way people do messaging more towards this simple, real-time, immediate personal experience. E-mail is still really important to a lot of people. We think this simple messaging is how people will shift their communication," he said.

Facebook reports that around 70% of its users already use the service to send messages, and that some four billion messages are sent over the site each day.

The new service will resemble chat more than email, with no subject lines, cc or bcc fields, and messages will be sorted into three folders, for messages from friends, messages for things like bank statements and junk. Like email, users will be able to store particular conversations.

The service will allow users to decide how they want to talk to friends, and will also send messages to the receiver through whatever medium or device is convenient for the recipient.

Facebook will also make an @facebook.com address available for all users.

Response to the launch was generally positive.

Eden Zoller, Ovum principal analyst commented: "If Facebook positions this as a full web email service it will put Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! on the defensive. It should also give telcos a lot to think about as Facebook is becoming an increasingly rich communication platform. All it needs to do now is put search into the equation.

"An email service from Facebook makes a lot of sense. It has a huge base of 500 million users that already love to communicate and share, and Facebook is giving them richer ways to do this through virtual gifts, games, location and even voice thanks to the recent integration deal with Skype.

"Adding email to the mix is a logical step and Facebook could tap into user data to provide an attractive, highly personalised service. You would also expect it to push mobile features given its big move in this direction. "

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