We reported today that Facebook is getting into the email game, and soon anyone will be able to register for and receive an @facebook.com email address.
It seems like the Facebook emails are oriented more towards a chat interface; as you can see from the screenshot in this article, these emails look more like an IM conversation.
At Facebook’s blog, they talk about “seamless messaging” as part of the rationale for this development. They talk about how it can be difficult remembering who prefers being contacted by IM, who prefers email, who prefers a Facebook message, etc. The new Messages/email set-up aims to unify all such communications.
One thing that’s interesting about the Facebook email is what they’re calling the “Social Inbox.” It prioritizes messages from friends, but puts emails from mailing lists, automated reply systems etc. in a secondary “Other” folder. This makes sense if you’re using your Facebook email just for keeping up with friends, but I could see this becoming a problem if this is used as your primary email — after all, you don’t want notifications of bank fraud being buried in some junk folder forever.
While the service was unveiled today, currently only American Facebook users will have access to it. Other countries are to be rolled out in the coming months, but it makes me wonder how they will handle people who share the same name — will Mike Brown is San Fran get dibs on firstname.lastname@example.org, and will Mike Brown from Kenora have to settle for email@example.com?
You can read more here about what Facebook says about their new development on their blog.