When I logged into Facebook tonight (around 9:15 PM), I was prompted to upgrade to the new Facebook Messages. They’ve been spreading out the invites to this over the last few days, and it’ll continue over some period of time, so I wanted to show you what you’ll get when you get the option!
If you recall, in November, Facebook held a press conference to announce their plans for a more integrated platform. The idea is to allow you to see your messages, your chats, even text messages sent through the Facebook system, all in one place. See all that content ON Facebook, of course, where else? Let’s take a look at what you’ll get when you upgrade to Facebook Messages:
First up, the option to upgrade. Facebook explains that you’ll get your messages, chats and texts all in one place.
Once you upgrade, you get the chance to activate your Facebook email address. You don’t get to choose – your username becomes the first part of your email address, so it’ll look like this: email@example.com
To be clear, someone can use your new email address – firstname.lastname@example.org FROM their regular mail client and still get a message to you. It works just as any other email address, with the exception that I don’t see the ability to set it up via POP or IMAP to access in your regular mail client. Hmm, I wonder why… This will definitely become a major competitor for Gmail.
Once you’ve activated your Facebook email address, you can move on to the next step and choose if you want to turn on your text messages. People will be able to send you messages through SMS if you turn this feature on. Of course, standard rates apply, but Facebook doesn’t charge you anything extra.
Now you’re good to go! Choose “Messages” in the left column, and you’ll see everything Facebook thinks is a priority in one place. Messages that aren’t from friends will go to the “Other” box. This type of feature can always take a little getting used to, as the computer “smart” sorting isn’t always correct.
A couple things to note:
The Quick Reply box has changed a bit. It’s much tinier and doesn’t expand when you click inside the box. The “Quick Reply mode” is automatically turned on, so when you hit enter, you’re going to send whatever partial message you’ve typed. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of paragraphs, so I’ve already sent a few partial messages in only 15 minutes of playing with Facebook Messages!
You’ll also notice in the above screenshot that you can send it via text message. If that user hasn’t activated her text messages, it’ll tell you so, but allow you to “encourage her to activate it”. You can also send an attachment, or open up your webcam and take a picture or video to send.
I tend to prefer a little separation in my various messages, so I’m not sure I’ll be loving this new feature, BUT having said that, I can totally see many of you loving it and using it.
And… I know a lot of you will be bringing this up in the comments and on Twitter and Facebook, so let’s discuss it. Facebook wants you to use them for ALL your content – email, chat and SMS. That’s no different than any other company, but it certainly brings up privacy issues as well as just purely the scare factor of ALL your messages being in one place, with one provider. What if someone actually outdoes Facebook? Hard to believe, I know! But it’s possible.
What are your thoughts? Do you have it yet, and if so, do you like it?