Facebook Launching Inbox Search (Screenshot)

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Facebook is finally launching a long-awaited feature users have been clamoring for for years: email inbox search. Inbox search is launching for only a few networks today, but will be available to all users by July 1. It’s something Facebook has been working on for a long time.

Here’s a first screenshot of the new Inbox search:

facebook inbox search

By adding inbox search, Facebook is taking the first of several vital steps needed to make its messaging service reasonable usable for users who want to use it manage a significant portion of their communication. Only last December did Facebook add message contents to Facebook message email notifications.

For many, especially younger, users, Facebook messaging has largely supplanted email as the low-key communication platform of choice. However, Facebook’s inbox is not ready for prime time as a replacement for email with friends: you still can’t star, file, or label messages.

What took Facebook so long? The company built its indexing system in house and wanted to make sure it could scale to handle the millions of messages sent on the site every day, according to Facebook engineer Prashant Malik. Users will surely be glad that it’s now a lot easier to find old messages.