Last month I suggested that Facebook may be launching an email application. Today, Facebook took a huge step in that direction. Facebook announced a new feature that allows users to write messages to their friends that aren’t currently using Facebook from within the messaging system. Not only can they send; they can receive as well. Even if your friend is not a Facebook member, they can now reply to your messages.
Personally, I won’t take complete advantage of this because Facebook’s messaging system doesn’t have a robust feature set. This is a signal though that they are taking messaging seriously. It is also an excellent way for Facebook to increase their growth rate. They have also added in an additional feature:
Facebook will add any email addresses that you message to your “friend selector”, so you don’t have to remember everyone’s email address all the time. Also, if you message someone who is on Facebook but you use their email instead of their name, we’ll automatically forward the message to their Facebook Inbox. As we continue to make Facebook more useful for everyone, these changes mean that there’s no need to switch between Facebook and email for your daily communication needs.
This is one small step for Facebook, one giant leap for mankind. Well not really but it’s a big move on their part. All that I now hope for is that Facebook adds search functionality to their messaging system. Once Facebook adds effective search and indexing features I will definitely use their messaging system even more (which is difficult considering it currently accounts for at least 25% of my communication). What percentage of your communication takes place on Facebook?