Nov 16, 2010

Facebook's new messages system

I've always wondered why, in the age of online handles and content-based routing and web identities, do we still need to have 8+ digit numbers for phones. Since it's painful to remember more than a handful of these numbers, we end up giving them useful aliases on our mobile devices or address books. Instead, why can't we simply have something like a "name telecom provider" interface?

Which is why I was intrigued to see that very same point being made in Facebook's announcement of its Facebook Messages revamp. It's very clever, it's very social, and it is likely to take Facebook to people who didn't care to be part of that ecosystem. When GMail brought in a fresh look at e-mail, it was typically Google: fast, usable, but geeky (tags instead of folders, email classification, attachment reminders). This, in comparison, is social-like-hell (for us not-so-social types) - separate inboxes for friends vs others (v. simple - why didn't others implement this?), the promise of replaying your interactions with a person over a lifetime, and convergence of email/IM/sms.

The announcement also suggests that they spoke to high-schoolers to understand what they thought about messaging, which is interesting. So Twitter is for the 30+ crowd and the hare-brained-celebs, GMail for those who discovered Google in their twenties, but FB will evolve with teens.

I don't use FB very much, but it looks like it's just arrived on my online doorstep. Especially if this is the vision:

Relatively soon, we'll probably all stop using arbitrary ten digit numbers and bizarre sequences of characters to contact each other. We will just select friends by name and be able to share with them instantly. We aren't there yet, but the changes today are a small first step.
Zuckerberg's Social Network keeps getting wider.

(just a bunch of thoughts that struck me when I read the announcement)

1 comment:

Anand said...

Is not RAMANAND statistically a random sequence of 8 alphabets