@facebook.com, still think social media will kill email? [Updated]

@facebook.com, still think social media will kill email? [Updated]

Speculations about Facebook launching its own webmail service have been going on for about a year. Now Project Titan is about to come to life and Facebook will host a special event today in San Francisco that should be Inbox related.

We got a good laugh last june when Sheryl Sandberg said that email was "probably going away" since Facebook core features are strongly linked to webmail services such as Yahoo or Hotmail (RIP Gmail) in order to help each new Facebook user to create, manage, and grow his presence on the most famous social network.

The only question that remains now is: will anyone be able to send an email to a Facebook Inbox or will we have to have some kind of relationship (like, friend, group, etc) with a user in order to reach his inbox?

Follow the live event today on Facebook Live

UPDATE 16/11/2010 - Here are the three main outcomes following Facebook Live event

  1. Facebook creates a unified (seamless) messaging system across four different channels: Instant Messaging, SMS/Text, Facebook messages and email,
  2. Facebook enables users to own an @facebook.com email address to send and receive emails but forget about subject lines, cc or bcc,
  3. Big news: Facebook users have control on who can send them emails (friends, friends of friends or everyone).


The focus has not only been on email, far from it, but on making sure that whatever is your preferred communication means you can still easily communicate with your contacts.

Other pieces of information shared during this live event:

  1. Each of your conversation will be stored in your history,
  2. Your social inbox will be made of three folders: friends, others and junk,
  3. 350 million people currently use messaging system on Facebook,
  4. 4 billion messages (messages, chat, SMS, etc) sent everyday on Facebok,
  5. The new messaging system will support file attachments,
  6. 15 engineers worked on this launch (biggest engineering team ever),
  7. No conversation threading available as Zuckerberg believes it's not the most convenient way to communicate with friends but one thread per friend instead,
  8. Facebook use a routing engine to decide how to route messages to end user (if the user is online, the message can pop up in the chat system)
  9. Facebook will "somehow capture non-Facebook users email addresses to make sure that Facebook users can properly communicate with them" but those email addresses will remain private
  10. Facebook corporate email addresses which used to be @facebook.com become @fb.com


Update 22/11/2010 - Mark Zuckerberg gave further insights during the Web 2.0 Summit:


  • The main goal was "not to build an email product but a modern messaging system".

  • High-schoolers have emails but find email too slow and too formal therefore Facebook's main objective was "to take away everything that we can" and create a system where you can send people one message which gets delivered wherever they are (IM if user is online on Facebook, delivered to inbox if user is not online, push notifications through Facebook Mobile app or SMS).

  • With the Open Graph you can now solve SPAM. Email filters are good at filtering real junk but you still get lots of emails from services you've subscribed to. The Open Graph enables you to differentiate between two legitimate people and choose the one you like more. The friend relationship on Facebook is meaningful as it is a two way process that requires confirmation.


Should have i missed or misunderstood something feel free to comment!


Product Manager

15 Nov 2010

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