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Facebook Messages

Here is the Facebooks Phone.

Much has been made of the rumored Facebook Phone.... specifically around the hardware component (see the Techmeme stream here). Regardless of whether or not a Facebook branded device will soon exist, the Facebook Phone already exists as an OS of sorts.... comprised of core applications. Here is my iPhone's homescreen. There is a folder dedicated to Facebook with the core Facebook Application, Facebook Messages, Facebook Camera, and Facebook Pages. It is not hard to imagine standalone apps for contacts, calendar, places, etc. Said differently, if you think about the phone's core applications, Facebook can replicate many of them:- Contacts :: FB Graph - Calendar :: FB Events - SMS :: FB Messages - Email :: FB Messages or blown out email product - Maps :: FB Places - Camera :: FB Camera - Media :: Open Graph / Facebook App Platform?

Facebook Launches Messenger for Windows. Gorgeous Download Design.

Facebook has launched Messenger for Windows. Finally - it's great. (Although I still think it's time to launch a browser!)

What's noteworthy is the download page and flow... which is unique (to me!) and a gorgeous, effective way to convert users through the download process. It's the best design of this flow I've seen.

Here's your standard marketing page - driving users to click download ("install now"). Very Facebook in its presentation.

And here is the cool part: once clicked, the lightbox appears with instructions and is situated directly over the download section of the browser (screenshot is of Chrome). The lightbox sits atop the download and instructs users through the next three steps - including getting over the biggest hurdle of the flow: converting users from download click to application open.

Beautiful and creative.

More Thoughts on Facebook Messages / Facebook Email

I don't claim to be great at email... But I am *way* worse on Facebook messages.

It is embarrassing how many emails I have missed over the months... and I should get some blame for those mistakes - but the product should get at least as much. Things just get lost and it's more of a chat product than an email product. ... which wouldn't be an issue if I weren't getting so many messages via Facebook (kudos and a sign of growth / FB as indentity platform).

I have 3 inboxes now: Polaris, Gmail, Facebook. Each is equally important and very different. And each has issues. Doing email just isn't as easy as it should be =(

I've written about this before:

- Facebook Messages: Uncomfortably Somewhere Between Chat, Messages & Email. - It’s Time for Facebook to Rethink Email.

Some other quick ideas: - allow me to separate chat and email. - integrate messages into iPhone mailbox (either integration or forwarding). - pull chat into an actual chat application (desktop) and email into an email experience. Gmail does this well. Learn from it.

- biggest move & most obvious move? Really build out an email product. why not? Facebook has become more of an identity platform than a pure social network. That's a more valuable stance, by the way. Email (and my email address) are a key part of online identity. Google knows this well...

Facebook Messages: Uncomfortably Somewhere Between Chat, Messages & Email.

Two weeks ago I wrote that it's time for Facebook to rethink email. Facebook messages is currently a hybrid between chat and lightweight email. Considering that each of us have Facebook email addresses (ie ryanspoon@facebook.com), its could be so much more... think Google's integration of Gmail + Google Talk. Anyhow, here's another example of the confused experience between chat and email. The updates from Facebook appear less like email and more like a chat log - but they are chronologically disjointed. The top messsage is the most recent. That is followed by a randomly selected older post and that by a more recent post. Bizarre.

It's Time for Facebook to Rethink Email.

I have no sense of the numbers - but the volume of 'emails' sent through Facebook's Messages platform must be a scale comparable to the bigger email hosts (ie GMail). Sure the product, the usage and the content is different - but the point remains: Facebook Messages is really, really big. As a Chat / SMS substitute (location, pictures, one-liners, etc), Facebook Messages is terrific and particularly great as a stand alone iPhone app.

But for email usage, Facebook Messages is really unusable. Why?

- Emails get lost far too quickly

- The interface is clearly aimed at SMS & feed-like interactions

- It lacks normal email activities: folders, search, stars, etc.

- It relies on notifications to drive engagement... but notifications are too transient and work great for feeds, not for email.

- It integrates nicely with Contacts and Events (two core components of email environments) - but those are again suited for social setting and not email settings.

So if Facebook created the Messages product to serve SMS & feed activities... and they built a great solution / experience for that - what am I complaining about?

Users are clearly looking for a truer email experience inside Facebook. I know this because I get dozens of emails to my Facebook account each week. In fact, I get more Messages akin to emails than I do to Chats. And I conclude the way I do on most LinkedIn messages: "Thanks! Please email me at rspoon@...com." I have to - I know it will get lost in the pile of Messages on Facebook.

That's a poor expierence and a poor outcome. Particularly considering I already have rspoon@facebook.com and would gladly create & manage an inbox (or on my iPhone, etc).

It's time to build a true email environment. Perhaps it sits beside Chat & Messages, but Facebook needs Email. Users are making due already.