Facebook unveils new messaging system

Kevin Tea, over at Web 2 And More asked this question yesterday: Is Facebook about to launch a “gmail killer” today? Well, the Facebook announcement came, and the answer is… “sort of… maybe… maybe not”.

Facebook didn’t just come out with a new e-mail service, but a whole system of messaging that incorporates e-mail, instant messaging, chat, and SMS. Mark Zuckerberg was clear that this is not a “Gmail killer”, or indeed an “e-mail killer”. Rather it incorporates e-mail into the whole system. I don’t know, though – I’d bet it crossed his mind at least once that giving 500 million users the option of a facebook.com e-mail address might cut into Gmail’s market share a little!

Using a facebook.com e-mail address won’t be compulsory – apparently Project Titan, as the new system was codenamed, will route messages to you however you choose to connect. If you do want to use a facebook.com address, though, you’ll want to set up a human-readable username by visiting http://www.facebook.com/username/. If you have any pages, and if they have enough fans, you’ll be able to set up usernames for those too.

The new messaging system will be rolled out over the next few months, with users being invited to try it out at a more controlled rate than everyone jumping in at the same time. It’ll be interesting to see how this changes communication through Facebook, and whether it will change communication on a wider scale too. Watch this space…

Internet statistics to blow your mind

I’m a bit of an internet statistics junkie – I actually enjoy checking the visitor stats for this site. When I send out an e-mail newsletter it interests me to see how many where opened and what content people found the most useful.

Mashable posted a great video on Friday that outlines some statistics on Internet use, and I wanted to share that with you here:

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from Jesse Thomas on Vimeo.

There are some amazing numbers there: 81% of all e-mail is spam!? Thank goodness for spam filters. I was (for some reason) surprised to see that there are more Internet users in Europe than the US. I don’t know why, but I often think of the US as being the market to crack… but perhaps I’ve been ignoring European users. Of course, then there are the massive numbers in Asia to be considered too!

The huge amount of traffic Facebook receives is just mind blowing, although I can see why that would be the case given the social networking, applications and games offered there. That massive user base is one of the reasons Geek-Speak has a Facebook page too – you have to go where the people are if you want them to hear about you!

I’m also a bit surprised that just over half of all web pages are blogs, according to the video! If ever there was an indication of the massive take-up of blogging, that’s it. Sure, I guess a lot of those are failed or failing blogs (ones that the owner hasn’t written on for a long period of time) but it certainly shows there’s an interest in people setting up their own piece of blogging real-estate.

What went through your mind when you watched the video? Did anything surprise you? Is there anything you’d dispute? I’ve love to know what you think, so please leave a comment!

Communication made easy

Sometimes you need to talk to someone – to apologise, complain, or something else – and you just don’t know what to say. What if there were some easy to fill in forms that helped, though?

The Bureau of Communication provides just that, with forms to fill in for a number of different occasions, ranging from declaring romantic intent, to airing a grievance, to offering unsolicited feedback.

An easier way to apologise?

Ok, so it’s more a bit of fun than a serious way to communicate, but it’s a pretty cool idea. And, who knows, you might actually find it a useful and humourous way to send someone an apology or break the ice with the object of your romantic intentions.

Have a look at the site, and while you’re at it, why not tell us in the comments what other scenarios you would want to see forms created for?