The social hub launches their new communications platform that combines email, chat, and SMS.

This afternoon, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the latest in their string of system upgrades: “Messages.” This system will offer users an email address, but will not function like traditional email. Messages aims to function like “a conversation” and therefore will combine three main features:

Seamless Messaging – A kind of hybrid email/message/chat that allows users to send and receive messages through whatever medium they choose (email, SMS, chat, Messages) but does not contain some of the baseline functions of email: Cc, Bcc, or subject lines. Conversation History – All messages sent between friends no matter what the medium will be archived in one central history. The Social Inbox – An inbox hierarchy that prioritizes messages from your Facebook friends, and their friends, and sends all other messages (bills, banks statements, etc.) to a separate folder marked “Other.”

The initial launch of the system is by invite only to members of the press, and will then be tested with user feedback to properly judge how to expand over time. Facebook has had a group of fifteen engineers working on this project for over a year, the largest engineering team to work on a single project in Facebook history.

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