"E-mail is too slow," Zuckerberg said. "It's too formal."
With those comments, Zuckerberg announced the launch of the company's new messgaing service. Users will have the option of getting facebook.com e-mail addresses, but the system will be a suite of messaging services. The key features will be seamless messaging across different media, conversation history and a social inbox.
"This is not an e-mail killer," Zuckerberg said. "It's a messaging system that has e-mail as a part of it.
The new service will have a feature called "social inbox," which allows users to label or sort e-mails by closest friends and associates, then a separate inbox for "others," and one for junk. That, in itself, is not a new feature in most e-mail programs, such as Gmail and Outlook. Another feature will be the ability to bounce e-mail from people who are not on Facebook.
A major point that Facebook stressed was that the new system will aggregate conversations into one thread, incorporating e-mails and other Facebook messaging with wall postings so that a user will have a complete compendium of all messages, regardless of method, in one place.
In answering reporter questions, Facebook says users can link Gmail or other accounts to its new message suite. Users do not have to use a facebook.com address. Zuckerberg called Gmail "a pretty good product." He also said Facebook e-mail will have advertising, similar to what users see on their Facebook pages, but the ads will not be targeted based on the content of the e-mails.
Zuckerberg does not anticipate users will cancel their existing e-mail accounts. He says it is just a way to make messaging simpler and more social.
Facebook says will roll out the new service gradually on an invitation basis over several months.