Earlier today I suggested that Facebook would need to launch an email service if they plan on accurately mapping the social graph. I also suggested that ultimately all communications of individuals must be tracked via one service (or at least accessible via a single service) if they plan on accurately mapping all of our communications. The purpose of leveraging a messaging service is to track as many of our inter-personal communications as possible.
This could eventually expand to include phone calls and email but according to Mike Arrington, the first service will be instant messaging. If accurate, this news will be a massive blow to Social.im and a number of other messaging services. One commenter in my post earlier today suggested that Facebook launches a Jabber based messaging service.
While the first incarnation of this service will not be Jabber based, it is a step in the right direction. Facebook is in a highly unique position where they can launch instant messaging services as well as other messaging services. The key will be openness just as Google Talk has successfully implemented by enabling AIM contact lists to be imported. Support of the AOL instant messaging client would be greatly applauded if released at launch.
There are few details as to how this application will function but Arrington is reporting that it will all take place within Facebook. There are countless messaging clients that already exist on the platform and I would look for an uproar from current application developers. At least those that have attempted to build a business on the F8 platform only to be squashed by a more efficiently marketed instant messaging service created by Facebook.
It will be interesting to see how this news pans out.