Facebook Messages Make Move On Email

    August 21, 2007

I thought Google had won a major victory as its Apps Education Edition was embraced by more and more colleges.  But, at least as far as Gmail is concerned, Facebook appears to have trumped that move – the social network’s messages can now act as emails.

“[Y]ou can enter a friend’s email address into the To: line when you send a message or share an album, and Facebook will email them the message,” announced Luke Shepard on The Facebook Blog.  “Your friends will be able to reply without signing up, and they will be able to see content you share with them.”

This development could keep some people from ever again using ordinary email; two months ago, CNET’s Stefanie Olsen had already found, “Kids say e-mail is, like, soooo dead.”  That’s not to say that Facebook has perfected anything here – Nick O’Neill notes that its messaging system needs help on the organizational and search-related fronts – but the message-to-email option is nice to have.

Granted, one aspect of the option may annoy some people; Shepard wrote, “Keep in mind that all rules of privacy still apply; some Facebook content that you share (photos, groups, notes, etc.) won’t be visible to your friend.”

But in the end, that could encourage a few hangers-back to finally join the social network.  Recent Nielsen//NetRatings numbers suggest that Facebook grew by 129 percent in the past year, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.