Facebook Launches Project Titan
New messaging service combines e-mail, texting and other ways to connect.
The world's largest social network is moving into turf long held by its internet rivals.
E-mail is coming to Facebook as part of a bigger push into online communications that unifies messages from various sources into one place.
The company introduced a new messaging platform monday called "Project Titan" that introduces Facebook e-mail as one part of a larger messaging mix.
"More people will engage in this simply because it's simpler and it's easier and helps people connect better and it's more accessible and more fun and more valuable for them to use," explained CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
There's been speculation that new platform was a potential "gmail-killer" aimed at web rival, Google.
Zuckerberg downplayed that notion, but said e-mail's importance overall is diminishing alongside chats, texts and instant messages.
"We think this simpler type of messaging will be how a lot of people will shift a lot of their communication, and we'll see how that happens over time, but if we build a good product that people want to use, then they'll use it," he said.
Privacy issues that have dogged Facebook could give some users pause over sharing even more personal information with the new platform, but the ability to pool internet communication from various sources into one home on Facebook is likely to have strong appeal for many.
"The average person will realize you can e-mail me at email@example.com and
there's less of a reason to leave Facebook, ever," says CNET.com senior editor Natali Morris.
And more time spent on Facebook means less time spent with its internet competitors.
Facebook users will be provided an "@facebook.com" e-mail address as the system is rolled out gradually over the next few months.