SAN FRANCISCO â€” Facebook unveiled a new messaging platform Monday that takes aim at one of the Internet's first applications, e-mail.
Though CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn't go as far as declaring e-mail dead, he sees the four-decade-old technology as secondary to more seamless, faster ways of communicating such as text messages and chats. In other words, Facebook is betting that today's high school students are on to something.
â€œWe don't think a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail,â€ Zuckerberg said at a special event in San Francisco.
The new platform, which will be rolled out to users in the coming months, integrates cell phone texts, chats, e-mail and the existing Facebook messages. It seeks to bring together all these different forms of communication in one inbox, centered around the people sending it rather than the type of technology they use. Facebook will hand out @face
â€œIf we do a good job, some people will say this is the way that the future will work,â€ Zuckerberg said.
By making e-mail part of its communications hub, Facebook escalates its duel with Internet search leader Google Inc., which shook up online communications 6Â½ years ago with its Gmail service. Google also has said it will roll out more social networking features to counter Facebook's growing popularity.