Last week I finally received access to Facebook’s revamped Messages platform. I’ve been wanting it since the moment it launched, and I honestly believed that it would change how we communicate. I thought it would consolidate all the different mediums of communication we use, along with removing some of the silly syntax that goes along with it. When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook Messages, he talked about how he had noticed the ways teenagers used Facebook, and how this was meant to make everyone’s communication simpler.
I am a little disappointed.
Facebook obviously knows where the gold lies. Simplifying communication is a huge task, but the rewards are infinite. They’ve even defined the aspects of communication that are causing problems, and making people’s lives more difficult. That’s one step ahead of everyone else. But as for the execution? Not quite.
A lot of what Facebook has done is an improvement, yes. Facebook Messages consolidates “Messages, Chats, and Texts” – great, so it does simplify communication within Facebook a bit. I do like how they’re organising messages around recipient and not subject (and hence have removed the subject line entirely), so they’ve solved the problem of removing some of the pointless syntax that goes with existing communication mediums.
I also like how they’ve simplified the user experience within Messages, and have added the ability to send messages just by hitting enter. This simple feature entirely changes the view of the medium of communication – pressing enter to send a message is much more “chat-like”, which is what Facebook was trying to do. So again, they’ve accomplished on that score. The one other thing I like is that I can now attach a file – that’s brilliant!
But as for consolidating my communications as a whole? It seems like they stopped before the job was fully complete.
I do not want to use Facebook as a replacement for my email. But I do want to have the ability to pull in my emails and access them through Facebook. That’s what consolidation is about. Consolidating communication within Facebook is a start, but if they’d taken the next step they would’ve won with this product. I want my emails pulled in from my Gmail account so that I can view them and access them from within Facebook, and choose to reply from either my Facebook or Gmail account.
As for text messages, it’s all very well that I can send Facebook Messages as text messages to my friends. But what I would love is for Facebook to pull in all my communication with a friend and store it within Facebook. So if a friend and I are both texting each other from our cellphones, I want that communication to be pulled into Facebook and stored to be accessed and viewed later. This isn’t a crucial feature – but if they’d done it, it would add to finishing this product off.
I’m not saying I don’t like the new Facebook Messages. I’m just saying that it feels incomplete. I think if Facebook implemented the above features, it would be much closer to what I would consider a finished product. But even then, I feel like there needs to be a little bit more. And hey, that’s the $100 billion question. So, I’m getting thinking. You should too. Because Facebook hasn’t got a winner on their hands here. The prize is still there for the taking.