This week, Facebook became the real deal. Don’t laugh; up until now, everyone’s favorite social networking site was just playing around. Facebook Messages will change everything.
You may remember a project Google announced with great fanfare, worked on for about a year, and then dropped when they realized that no matter how cool Google Wave might have been, they had no way to explain it well enough to make people actually use it. Had Google succeeded in getting Wave into all of our hands, it would have been the biggest business change since e-mail.
Seven months ago, I told you that Google Wave wouldn’t just be a killer app, but would replace e-mail. Right idea, wrong company and service. Facebook Messages is going to be that e-mail killer. And cement Facebook, as bad as it is in so many ways, as the most important service on the Internet.
Here’s the deal: e-mail, as useful as it is, isn’t cool. And I’m not talking about “wow! that’s cool!”, which Google Wave would have been but Facebook Messages probably won’t be. The issue with e-mail is that it’s linear and moded; you need to work in a specific order and a specific way, and for all the productivity gains e-mail has brought us it’s also contributed to its own demise.
In other words, we have so much e-mail, we can’t keep up with it. We need a new paradigm. Google Wave could have been it, Facebook Messages will be.
Oh, there will be problems, and a bit of a learning curve. And Facebook, difficult as it already is to “use well”, will become even more complicated for a while. But once its very-much-past-critical-mass user base gets the hang of Facebook Messages, the ability to manage all of your communication from one place will be the game changer.
Best of all, because Facebook is (at least in theory) a system that allows only people you know to send you messages, if Facebook implements security right Messages will be the end of spam.
Now all you need to do is wait for your invitation, connect through Facebook Messages with everyone you know, and learn to use it.
OK, so it’s not going to solve your problems overnight. Be patient. Facebook Messages is a real game changer, and will make for real business change.