It has been a race between Google and Facebook to be the World Wide Web Guru for some time now. With today’s announcement of the new Facebook Messages, it could be a stepping stone for Facebook to take the lead.
Rumors of a “Gmail Killer” called Project Titan have been circling around, and some believe this could be the end-all be-all for Google’s internet domination. The two have been going head-to-head for quite some time now: from advertising, location-based services, to chat functions, the next move could be the big one.
With Advertising: Google has featured advertisements at the top of search results based on what the search topic was, and sometimes shows images of those products – Facebook ads are strategically placed on the right side of the page and focused on user interests so they will be directly targeted according to the product or services being advertised to the interest of the user.
With Location: Google Maps provides directions and maps for a specific location; Facebook has Places and Deals, providing a map of surrounding restaurants, bars, or businesses offering intriguing discounts.
With Communication: With Google’s email service, Gmail, account users can chat with other Gmail users; Facebook has its own chat, allowing those signed into Facebook to instantly communicate between each other.
Today it seems Facebook took a step forward by redefining their messages feature to users through seamless messaging, offering conversation history, and creating a “Social Inbox”. All of these features plays on the simple focus that the user chooses their form of communication.
With the new seamless messaging feature, users can choose their preferred method of receiving messages and still communicate between each other in real time. Between SMS, text, email or Messages, all users can communicate together regardless of their method of choice.
In addition to seamless messaging, users may now choose to have an @facebook.com email account allowing people to connect via email whether they are signed on Facebook or not. This will still resemble Messages, with no subject, cc, or bcc functions and sending with a simple hit of the enter key.
Facebook is also allowing users to view their conversation history between any form of communication they had – all forms of their conversation will be stored in one place and saved from beginning to end.
A “Social Inbox”
The other featured messaging function was the “Social Inbox”, allowing users to customize the way they receive messages. All types of messages from friends will be in the Inbox, whereas other messages such as bills, or friends who are not on Facebook will show up in an “Other” folder – which can then be moved to the Inbox, and going forward will continue to do so.
Users can also change their settings to have complete message control over who is sending them messages, and now can bounce any emails that are not exclusively from friends.
Although Facebook did clarify it “is not email”, it is no time for Google to rest assured. This form of messaging is more prompt, more customized, and more conversational. With a continued increase in user engagement and the new Facebook Messages feature, Facebook may take the reigns by putting their fate in users’ hands.
Update: Request an invite to Facebook’s new messaging service here.