Facebook looking to modernise online messaging.

Facebook looking to modernise online messaging.

As Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg launched the social-networking site’s e-mail service in San Francisco recently he told reporters and analysts that online messaging needs to be modernised.

Facebook launch Gmail killer He suggested his company’s new product would eventually rival other email providers and “push the way people do messaging more towards [a] simple, real-time immediate personal experience”.

And, in what appears to be a terrible coincidence, only hours after the launch it was reported that Gmail suffered an unfortunate outage.

Data tracker ComScore say that Gmail was the fastest growing web service in the past twelve months, with over 193 million users and although pundits said Gmail would suffer most from the introduction of Facebook’s service, Mr Zuckerberg said otherwise.

He admitted that Gmail is “a great product” and that few people would immediately shut down their Gmail or Yahoo mail account solely because of the Facebook mail service’s introduction.

“Maybe one day, six months, a year, two years out people will start to say this is how the future should work,” said Mr Zuckerberg.

Facebook’s director of engineering told BBC News that the service aimed to enable people to have conversations with people they care about and that the new system would be more akin to a chat service than e-mail. For instance, there will be no subject lines, Cc or Bcc fields.

Industry reaction to the launch has been mixed.

Born spokesperson Jane Venn said, “Business users are likely to still want the capabilities and formalities of traditional email and so it may be a long while before the Facebook service completely overturns other service providers.

“But this is certainly a major step forward for the social-networking site with many media analysts hailing it a move which finally brings Facebook onto the playing field as Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and AOL.”

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