Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg introduced the ‘next generation messaging system’, which includes allowing users to have an @facebook.com email address, at an event in San Francisco on Monday.
Mr. Zuckerberg said: “Email is too slow, email is too formal. There is too much friction, like the filling in the subject line when people send an email.”
An invite for a new @facebook.com e-mail address is on sale for charity via eBay, and has already raised more US $710 till publishing this post. Posted by the news site AllFacebook.com, the auction has attracted nearly 48 bidders.
The new messaging system is only live to those with an invite at this stage, and Mr. Zuckerberg said that it will be rolled out slowly across the next several months. The eBay auction is the first to offer one for sale.
The proceeds from the sale will go to the Susan G Komen for the Cure charity, which says it aims “to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.”
Zuckerberg stressed that the site’s new messaging system, which will combine Facebook’s instant messaging system, SMS, Facebook messages and email in one place, would allow people to reply seamlessly across multiple devices to different types of messages.
By adding e-mail, California-based Facebook Inc. provides an alternative to Google’s Gmail, the fastest-growing Web mail service in the past year.
It also steps up pressure on Microsoft and Yahoo, which are vying for the attention of Web users, who rely more on social sites for information and staying in touch with friends.
“This is not an e-mail killer,” Zuckerberg said. “Maybe we can help push the way people do messaging more towards this simple, real time, immediate, personal experience.”
Google’s Gmail had 193.3 million global users in September, an increase of 21 percent from a year earlier, according to Reston, Virginia-based data tracker ComScore Inc. Gmail still trails Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail’s 361.7 million users and Yahoo’s 273.1 million. Both of those services saw declines in visitors in September from the year-ago period.
With Facebook’s new product, users can send messages to their friends that will appear as mobile-phone text messages, e- mails or instant messages, based on the preferences they set for each friend. Before, users would get alerts in their outside e- mail when friends posted a photo or commented on their Facebook wall.
Yahoo Inc. took steps last month to make its service more appealing to Web users enamored of social networks. It introduced a version of e-mail that integrates posts from microblogging site Twitter Inc. and delivers information at faster speeds. The service, still in a test phase, also improves searches, spam protection and the viewing of photos.
AOL Inc., the one-time market leader in e-mail, also previewed changes to its Web mail on Sunday, November 14. The new features let users see images, maps and other attachments contained in a message in a panel on the side of the screen. AOL was fifth in Web e-mail in September with 30.7 million users, a drop of 18 percent from a year earlier.
“E-mail remains one of the killer apps on the Internet,” said Brad Garlinghouse, AOL’s senior vice president of consumer products, who ran Yahoo’s e-mail until going to AOL last year. “We are recognizing we’re not just in the e-mail business, we’re in the communication business.” [via Facebook’s Blog and The Telegraph (UK)]