Facebook has launched a new combined email and messaging system the social networking giant dubbed Facebook Messages.
Facebook had been widely rumoured to be launching a competitor to Gmail, days after a spat broke out between the two Internet rivals and Silicon Valley neighbours as Google withdrew the ability to export Gmail contacts to Facebook saying that the firm was not ‘reciprocating.’
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg downplayed the impact the service would have on email providers telling analysts: "We don't expect anyone to wake up tomorrow and say 'I'm going to shut down my Yahoo Mail or Gmail account'.
The idea behind the Facebook Messages service is explained on the firm’s blog by Facebook engineer Joel Seligstein. The need to track what forms of messaging are used by different contacts, often spanning generations, is one of the issues Facebook messages is seeking to address by acting as a communication hub between different messaging services.
Seligstein also presented an idea similar to the Gmail priority inbox, arguing that business communications shouldn’t appear alongside those of messages from your friends.
“It's not that those other messages aren't important, but one of them is more meaningful. With new Messages, your Inbox will only contain messages from your friends and their friends. All other messages will go into an Other folder where you can look at them separately,” wrote Seligstein.
Seligstein also fronts a video the firm posted which explains what Facebook Messages is all about: