Facebook Messages is not just Email. Nor is Gmail. What’s new?

Let me start out by pointing out the obvious – Facebook has been nothing short of a revolution in how we live our online lives. It connects me better to my friends, family and co-workers. It has inspired changes in how our work lives are changing.

Facebook Email Will Be Successful But That Doesn’t Mean Its Different!
I have now read at least 13 blog posts on the Facebook’s grand unification of messages from email, text and chat all in one box filtered via your social graph – as the future of communication.

I am yet to find anything that’s truly new.

I have been using Gmail for years and here is what I see:

  • Gmail stores all my Google Talk chat messages unless I go off record.
  • Gmail stores all my email.
  • Gmail prioritizes my inbox based on not just my address book (which is not much different from my social graph) but also other factors like which email I have responded to.
  • I use Google Voice so I get my text messages and voice messages (transcribed) in my Inbox and its all in one place.
So, all I want to know is how is this new @facebook.com fundamentally different. Take a look at the explanation and the FAQ, and you tell me. In fact, certain features like how you capture SMS messages seem to be fairly awkward compared to my Google Voice.
The few things that could be better with Facebook but nothing prevents Google from doing the same are:
  • Better spam filtering.
  • Native apps for iPhone, Android etc. to capture my text messages (SMS).
Despite all this, I still want to try Facebook Messages (or Email as media is calling it). And I think it will gain wide adoption. I just am not seeing breakthrough innovation,.. yet. And I am happy to wait.

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Partner, Storm Ventures. Previously VP of product management & strategy at salesforce.com across applications and platform. Previously founded and led Oracle SaaS Platform, and held engineering and product management roles in SOA and Identity Management. Anshu has a B. Tech. (Honors) and M.S. in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill respectively. Read his blog here.

2 responses to “Facebook Messages is not just Email. Nor is Gmail. What’s new?”

  1. Facebook has an Opening for Messaging, But This Ain’t It (Plus: What Should Google Do?) « SmoothSpan Blog

    […] among the EI’s was decidedly underwhelmed.  Nobody could understand what new value was being added.  I want to be sensitive to the notion that maybe these EI’s, all older software company […]

  2. Pankaj

    The very fact that it wraps messages around people in a mega-thread, is a shift in the email paradigm. Gmail might offer all of Fmail’s features, but they are all in separate categories. Fmail attempts to break down these categories. That in itself is a grand attempt. Google Wave tried and failed. But Facebook mail will most certainly not. You may want to read my blog about it – http://www.hyperoffice.com/blog/2010/11/17/facebook-mail-gmail-the-future-of-communication-collaboration-software/