Last night around 11pm I logged into my Facebook account and was greeted with the request to upgrade to Facebook Messages.
With some hesitation and glee wrapped in general interwebs suspicion I clicked the yes button and well, here it is, here I am. Something like that.
My first impression is that nothing much changed to radically.
It takes a bit of getting used to I guess the biggest hints are in the new icons that appear in the bottom right corner of the message, representing what platform the message has been received in.
So if you were having a conversation with a friend in IM, better known as facebook chat, you will see this icon next to the messages:
It is the key to how the new messages works. Here is a screen grab of the full input menu:
So it is basically as I understand it, unified messaging. You can see the ‘Attach File’ roll over pop up and along side that the pic/camera icon so you can post pics and attache files, and over on the other side you have the ability to sent SMS text (if you have enabled it which you do on your mobile/cell when you register) and then you have the Quick Reply check box which is selected in my grab – this is just a keyboard shortcut essentially, just press the Enter key to send your message.
What does it mean to me? Why do I care? And that pearler of a question filled with gratitude, ‘What’s in it for me?’.
At first I didn’t get it, big deal I thought. Then I sent an email to myself. I sent it from Facebook Messages, to one of my ten a dozen free email addresses I created for subscribing and defending against spammers. Just like email@example.com and hit Returnand off it went.
Then I went and logged into that service, and there it was. Right from my facebook messages page into my gmail inbox.
My own @facebook.com email address. That is cool.
So that is what this new service boils down to, just like Mark said in the film; it’s gotta be cool.
And it is cool. If you have claimed your own vanity URL you can have your own personal facebook email with your full name, and that, I guess, is cool.
I went to send a friend an SMS and I saw this message indicating I couldn’t communicate with this friend by SMS yet as it wasn’t activated at her end, but I guess once we all roll into the new Facebook Messages service, the service will be more complete.
You know the adage, if you build it he will come.
I took off in the morning after having done my Sunday morning status update and left for the mechanics place who is working on my motorbike and when I got there I had a new text message.
It was from a generic mobile number that had a strange prefix compared with what we are used to in Australia, it started with 01983 which I dont know if charges my post-paid account or not, will update on that later maybe.
So this is the message I got on my mobile which basically negated the need to log in and check it on the App which I spose is handy, but personally I find that process like a part of the Facebook Fix.
One of the new features here is the ability to subscribe by SMS alert, to see my friend updates. Again I dont know yet if any of this is an extra user pays subscription fee or if it is all absorbed by Facebook. I suggest searching through the New Messages FAQ if you are really keen, I couldnt find it at a glance, got bored and came back to blogging about it instead. I’m guessing that if I do indeed reply I might see all of Shane’s status updates.
I like logging in and seeing if there are new messages. But that is the mobile App and I don’t think it is affected by this update. Better go check that out later too. (Five minutes later). Turns out I couldn’t wait, and also turns out I didn’t have to. I clicked the App icon on my desktop on iPhone 4 and there was a spotlight message welcoming me to the new Facebook Messages – ‘All your messages together’.
Since starting this review I have received quite a few SMS updates via Facebook and I am already annoyed with it so I will be switching that off pretty quickly, which you can do easily on the Notifications page of your Facebook, but to summarise how I feel about being one of the lucky new Facebook Messages users (yeah right!) I would say this;
Unified messaging is cool. I like being able to see threaded text conversations which is what we got with the first iPhone ,and this extends that just nicely with Facebook chat and SMS plus new email.
Adding Facebook chat and SMS and email to the Facebook Web Application is a bold move. I don’t know right now how the email thing will go, as it is still new to me, but I think if the SPAM filter is strong then I will be using my @facebook.com email address to subscribe to heaps of sites ad sign ups and even competitions so I don’t have to worry about that ‘other’ Gmail service as much anymore. And so will gazillions of other devoted Facebookers. It won’t take over or negate my need for a well organised Gmail service with Folders etc right now, but we will see what we will see.
Text alerts have and always will annoy me , I think in my mind I reserve Text alerts for more personal communications with close friends or for keeping appointments with Doctors for example, then it doesn’t bother me as much.
And finally, the appeal for me mostly is in the fact that I can haz my own @facebook.com email address and for some unknown reason I think that is really very cool. Thanks Mark.
Have you used the new Facebook Messages services yet? What do you think of it?