Facebook Pulls Curtains On Next Version Of Messages

Facebook has unveiled its biggest step forward yet in its ongoing attempt to map the social graph of its 500 million or so users.

Mark Zuckerberg announced in a low key event at Facebook's headquarters that the social networking website would roll out a "modern" messaging system that has seven distinct characteristics; seamless, informal, immediate, personal, simple, minimal, short.

He pointed to a slide that showed how the vairous components - SMS, Facebook messages and Email - would interlock and allow people to navigate seamlessly across multiple devices.

Central to the idea of what Zuckerberg coined the Social Inbox is the absence of the overhead associated with steps like writing the email, adding a subject line etc.

In effect, one could say that the new Facebook Messages does to email what Google did to Search with Instant, annihilate the overheads.

This holy grail of communications doesn't have a name yet (and certainly not Project Titan). Andrew Bosworth, director of engineering at Facebook, confirmed that it would be compatible with Jabber/XMPP as well as IMAP.

The service will be rolled out over the next few months with an invite system which will allow users to invite other people, presumably both inside and outside Facebook.