Facebook announces new message system, not email

Last week, we reported that Facebook may be launching a new email service for its 500,000,000 users.

At a press conference this morning in San Francisco, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company is instead launching a “modern messaging system.”

On the company’s blog, Facebook engineer Joel Seligstein explains how the new Messages will work:

Today I’m excited to announce the next evolution of Messages. You decide how you want to talk to your friends: via SMS, chat, email or Messages. They will receive your message through whatever medium or device is convenient for them, and you can both have a conversation in real time.  You shouldn’t have to remember who prefers IM over email or worry about which technology to use.  Simply choose their name and type a message.

We are also providing an @facebook.com email address to every person on Facebook who wants one. Now people can share with friends over email, whether they’re on Facebook or not. To be clear, Messages is not email. There are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key. We modeled it more closely to chat and reduced the number of things you need to do to send a message. We wanted to make this more like a conversation.

According to Mashable.com, the new system will be rolled out slowly over the next several months in an invite-only process.