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facebook emailUpdated

Facebook just announced the new messaging service that the tech press has been speculating about as a “Gmail killer” — but the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said that’s actually the wrong way to think about it.

“This is not an email-killer,” he said of the offering, called Facebook Messages. “This is a messaging system that includes email as one part of it.”

The new Facebook feature allows people to receive SMS text messages, instant messages, email, and Facebook messaging through the Facebook website, or on another service of their choice. (I’ll be publishing another post shortly with more details of how this works.) Zuckerberg said this system should feel simpler and more natural than email, but he added that he doesn’t expect people to abandon email, especially not right away. Instead, users, especially younger users, who already do most of their communication in Facebook (and other non-email systems) will start shifting to this system more and more over time.

Zuckerberg also talked specifically about Google’s Gmail product, since Facebook’s new product has been talked about as a way for Facebook to compete against Google. Zuckerberg described Gmail as “a really good product” and repeated that he doesn’t expect users to delete their Gmail accounts. After all, you can use the new Facebook Messages with Gmail.

Update: You can read my overview of the new Facebook Messages here.

Front photo via Andrew Feinberg

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