Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Look: The New Facebook Messages

This morning, while checking Facebook, I noticed a flag informing me to "Upgrade to the New Messages." You may recall that Facebook rolled out their new messaging system back in November 2010 that would group messages, chats, and texts into a single place. Members interested in trying out the new messaging service could request an invitation. In this post, I will share my first look at the new Facebook Messages.

Tour Of New Messages
Upgrade Now
Once I click on the "See What's New" link, I see the page entitled, "The New Messages." This page provides a basic overview of the new service. It reads:

  • All your messages together: Get Facebook messages, chats and texts all in the same place. Include email by activating your Facebook email address.
  • Full conversation history: See everything you've ever discussed with each friend as a single conversation.
  • The messages you want: Focus on from your friends-messages from unknown senders go into the Other folder. 

Claim Your Facebook Email
Clicking on the Upgrade Now button reveals the new message center. Immediately, an alert window opens and displays an option to Claim your Facebook email. If activated, your email address uses your public username. In my case, it is damondnollan@facebook.com. At this point, you can either skip this step or Activate Email.

Message Inbox
The Facebook Messages inbox contains a record of messages, chats, and emails. As seen in the image below, the messages inbox also shows the sender's name, picture, and short snippet of the message. Users can mark the message as read, archive the message, create new message, or search existing messages.

Clicking on a particular message reveals an ongoing Facebook Chat conversation. As seen in the image below, the conversation with my uncle Greg first started back in July 2010. We continued the dialog this morning and Facebook kept it all together. If I wanted to, I can write a reply from this view and attach a document or picture.

Quick Reply
Additionally, I have the option to send messages in Quick Reply mode. This means I can press the Enter key on my keyboard to send the message. This works great if I'm chatting with someone or shooting off a quick note. However, for more lengthy responses that include multiple paragraphs, I can simply uncheck the box.

Actions Tab
Finally, users have additional options regarding messages. Under each message, there is an Actions tab. When clicked, users can archive, delete, report as spam, block user, forward, mark as unread/read, or move to the other folder. 

Final Thoughts
After reviewing the functionality and layout of Facebook Messages, I'm not sure what to feel. Initially, I was excited about having access to it, but as of this post, it hasn't changed the way I navigate or use messages.

The one exception I see is with Facebook email. It is possible that having a Facebook email address will mean receiving legitimate messages from outside of Facebook. Today, I get spammy bulk messages that mean very little to me. However, the real question is whether I will replace Gmail for Facebook email. At this time, I don't see the advantage of switching because Gmail works great. 

Overall, Facebook Messages is just a more organized way to manage conversations with friends. 

Do you have the new Facebook Messages? If so, what are your thoughts? What do you like? What don't you like? What could they have done better? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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