Facebook Messages: Need to know

Facebook Messages could be a game changer, but what is it and will it really kill off traditional clients like Gmail et al?

Facebook announced big changes to its messaging services yesterday, essentially bringing together chat, texts and emails into one place.

Of course, things are never that simple in the tech sphere, especially when it comes to Facebook.

So we look at what the new Facebook Messages will give users and what its impact will be on the email market.

What does it do?

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What Messages does is essentially record conversations across form factors and communications methods. So, a user who wants to communicate with another, but wants to have that same conversation regardless of whether they are using email, their mobile or an instant messaging service, can now do so across Facebook.

With this, Facebook has offered users an @facebook email address to help make communicating even more converged.

A user's "Social Inbox" will only contain messages from their friends, as well as friends of friends. All other messages will go into an Other' folder where the user can look at them separately.

For messages from friends who aren't on Facebook, they will also go to the Other' folder. Conversations with these people can easily be moved to the inbox, where they will stay once shifted.

Users also have the option to block emails that are not from friends and can report spam if they so wish. The idea is to stop spam and give users greater control over their email than they have ever had before.

Below is what the central Messages management interface will look like.

Facebook Messages

When can I get it?

Facebook has not given a specific launch date, but Messages will be rolled out to all users in the next few months.

You will need to get an invitation, but once you have one you can invite your friends as well. You can also apply to be sent an invitation.

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