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Facebook gives messaging service email-style revamp

Facebook has announced that the Messages page is getting a new dual-pane layout.

The new layout features a list of your most recent messages on the left side of the screen, and a reading pane on the right. Clicking on one of the messages on the left side will let you see the whole conversation on the right side. Previously, the Messages page was organised into a single-column view, and users needed to open another page to view any conversations.

The update will roll out to a small subset of users beginning this week and worldwide over the coming weeks. As part of the update, users will also be able to "bring conversations to life" by adding multiple photos and emoticons to their messages, Facebook said.

Besides the visual improvements, the update brings enhancements for message search and navigation. Users can now search messages by a sender's name or keyword from the main messages view.

Facebook is also making it easier to navigate messages with the addition of several keyboard shortcuts. The shortcuts should let users compose, reply, and navigate through their messages more easily.

Facebook caught some flack earlier this summer after it quietly and without warning changed user's default email address to the address. A week later, the social network said a bug within the API for certain mobile devices caused an email synching glitch that resulted in "lost" emails that seemingly never arrived.

In other Facebook news, the social media giant announced this week that it has expanded its tagging feature to third-party "open graph" apps. Companies such as Fourquare can now implement the tagging feature so that it will work in their app just like it does on Facebook.