This morning Facebook made a seemingly strange decision to launch a dedicated application for messages. Why this wasn’t simply integrated with the existing Facebook mobile app is not clear, other than to position it as a potential replacement for txt messages.
Facebook Messaging is available for Android and iPhone, but unfortunately only in the US. If your able to get access to a US-based iTunes account, you can download the app, verify via a txt message and use the app in Australia.
There’s not really any surprises here, the app works just like Facebook messaging on the web works, just in mobile format. You can send messages to contacts however your connected, wether that be via phone numbers, just Facebook, emails etc. If you initiate the conversation, you get to choose which method to use if you have multiple for a contact, but replying is made simple, hit reply and the recipient gets the message.
The biggest casualty here is group messaging apps which rose to popularity in the past 6 months. Personally I never experienced critical mass of friends on any group-messaging service, which effectively made the prospect useless. Facebook already has that critical mass, so it makes the adoption of messaging that much easier. It doesn’t matter which platform your friends have, they (pretty much) all have Facebook.
If potentially missing events from friends and family wasn’t enough to get you on Facebook, missing out on conversations might. Facebook Messaging, once rolled out worldwide, will be one of the biggest messaging systems on the planet. So how scared should telco’s be that Facebook Messaging will steal away their lucrative sms / mms market ? Answer – very scared.