How The New Facebook Messages & Email System Works

At one end of the spectrum, Facebook says it’s “simple” and “fun.” On the other end, some are saying it’s Facebook’s version of Google Wave. And just about everyone spent the weekend suggesting that it’s a “Gmail killer.”

“It” is Facebook’s new, Whatever-you-do-don’t-call-it-email-but-hey-here’s-a-Facebook-email-address-for-you email and messaging system. Facebook says it’s more like chat; and it’s definitely not an email killer.

Who’s right? We’ll all decide that collectively as the invites get sent out. Until then, here’s how Facebook’s new Messages system works, via a screenshot-filled PDF distributed at today’s news conference.

How Do I Get The New Facebook Messages?

The new Messages is being rolled out “gradually,” as in over several months. Facebook users can request an invite and cross their fingers. When you’re in, you’ll see a pop-up window like this:

invite

Clicking on that “See What’s New” button will take you to another page where you can review the basics of the new Messages and confirm that you want it.

How Do I Get A Facebook Email Address?

Once you’ve received your invite and confirmed that you want the new Messages system, Facebook will invite you to claim your Facebook.com email address. It’ll match your current Facebook username. (If you don’t have one of those, you can get one at the same time.)

email

After I’m In, How Does The New Messages Work?

One of the immediate changes you’ll notice after you start using the new Facebook Messages is the naming of your inboxes/folders. Rather than the current “messages” and “updates” naming scheme, the new Messages just uses “messages” and “other.” You’ll first see the “Messages” box, and that’s where Facebook says it’ll prioritize all the messages from your friends. Everything else gets sent to the “other” folder — that includes messages from Facebook Groups and from Pages that you’ve liked.

naming

Another big change is the integration of messages into one system. If you have a Facebook.com email and use Facebook’s chat tool, all of this comes together the way Facebook wants. If you provide your phone number, you can bring SMS messages into the system, too. This screenshot shows how messages will appear in both the main in box and in Facebook Chat, and you can reply from either interface:

chat

As you can see on that image, there’s also a new tool to include attachments with messages. (see the small icon on the far left below “Write a reply…”)

And, yes, there’s a search element here, too. Facebook says it has “revamped” how message search works. You can search for either the person you were chatting with or for the topics you were talking about. You can also add people to conversations, remove yourself, or forward conversations to others.

search

Is Facebook Messages Private?

There are a number of Q&As related to privacy in the Facebook help topic for the new Messages system. By default, anyone on Facebook can still send you a message and, if you get a Facebook.com email address, anyone else with an email address can email you if they know your Facebook.com address. But you can change that via the privacy settings for your Facebook account; the options for who can send you messages are “everyone,” “friends,” and “friends of friends.”

You can also choose who to share your Facebook.com email address with, but keep in mind that any thinking person will know that your email address is the same as your Facebook username.

What If My Friends Don’t Have It Yet?

Once you’re in the new Messages system, you’ll have a number of invites that you can share with friends. Just like, errrr … Gmail.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Facebook | Top News

Sponsored


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://budiputra.com budip

    Let’s see if this new feature could impress me and made me stay longer on Facebook :-D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peg-McCreary/1481328705 Peg McCreary

    My sister Peg McCreary died on March 2, 2012. Why won’t facebook accept my uploaded copy of her death certificate. Why is facebook afraid to list a land mail address to handle situations like this ? ! ! ! ! !

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide