Today Facebook held a press conference for their latest announcement. The company announced that they will be launching an email service for Facebook, but with a twist. The new email service will have a chat-like service so users can communicate between one another.
Facebook announced that there is 350 million active users using the service today, that is an astonishing number, compared to the 550 million registered users the site contains. People share up to 4 billion messages on a daily basis, through the chat feature.
The new Facebook Email service won't be your traditional email service, but with a social networking, immediate chat twist. The new email service will be able to help speed up how users communicate with one another, through email.
The three main features to the service will have seamless messaging, conversation history and a social inbox. Users will be able to have an @facebook.com email address, and with that email, they'll be able to have instant inbox alerts, the same concept as Google Instant Search, with conversation history and a social inbox, using an algorithm to filter out all the messages you don't want.
The email address will use your public vanity url. If you currently have a www.facebook.com/yournamehere, you be able to register your firstname.lastname@example.org vanity. The email service is completely optional to users, and isn't forced onto users.
Adjusting your Facebook email settings is easy. You'll be able to move your favourite contacts into your direct inbox, getting instant alerts from your top friends. You'll also have a second message center, with contacts that aren't on your priority list.
Microsoft will also play a role in the Facebook email inbox, with Outlook Web Apps. With Web Apps integration, users will be able to use Microsoft Office documents like Word, Excel and PowerPoint to share with friends and family, a feature already integrated with Facebook and docs.com.
Users will also get to connect their account with Windows Live SkyDrive, offering up to 25GB of online storage for school work, photos, and personal documents you can share across computers, friends or use as additional storage.
The Facebook iPhone application will receive an update very shortly, with the new inbox messaging system. Users will also be able to send and receive messages via SMS, so you'll be able to text your friends, and have it appear on their Facebook page instantly.
Facebook also explained their reasoning for purchasing fb.com. Media contacts and staff at Facebook will use @fb.com email addresses, while every user will be able to use @facebook.com.
Update: You are now able to request an invitation here, though there is no word of when you will receive one.