I bet you have read a lot about Facebook Messages, Facebook's new communication hub, in the past 24 hours. Like most users I'm still waiting for my invite to try out the new service. But even without having tried it yet I can make the statement that Facebook Messages will not replace my primary email address and provider.
Why? Because it is limited to Facebook. When I want to check for new emails I have to visit Facebook to log in to see if I have any. Sure, third party developers may create plugins, add-ons or applications that tap in to Facebook Messages to notify the user of new messages, but that does not replace good old Pop3 or IMAP.
I prefer using an email client, in my case Mozilla Thunderbird, to access all my email accounts. With Facebook Messages I would have to visit Facebook to check emails sent to the @facebook.com account and another program or service for my other email addresses.
Facebook Messages in its current form is not the email or messaging service to rule them all. It is a clever way of combining chat and SMS messaging on Facebook with email on Facebook. If you use Facebook for lots of messaging you will probably like the idea of adding email to the mix.
But there is another problem associated with the new messaging service: There is only one thread per contact email address which means that every email sent and received by the same contact will be lumped together in one big thread.
Different subjects for instance are ignored by Facebook Messages, and chat and SMS messages are added to the conversation as well which could make it really hard to look up conversations from some time back. It is also not clear how group emails are working, emails that are sent to multiple users. Since you cannot sort by subject you may need to flip between users to access the whole conversation.
Facebook may have plans to add IMAP and POP3 at a later time, which would increase the value of the service, at least for users who like / or have to work with email clients. This would also get rid of the one thread per contact issue, and the problem that there does not seem to be an option to export messages out of Facebook.
A major problem with Facebook messages is that emails are using the syntax [email protected] which is often the real name of the user. This could open the doors for personalized spam messages.
There is another problem associated with it, that is affecting users who work at places that have blocked Facebook. If Facebook is blocked you cannot access your email and messages in the network.
What's your take on Facebook Messages?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.