Facebook’s Project Titan is the modern messaging system, but is ‘not an e-mail killer’

facebooks project titan is the modern messaging system but not an e mail killer facebook

In an unsurprising turn of events, Facebook unveiled its “modern messaging system” this morning. As expected, Project Titan will indeed compete with Gmail and other e-mail providers with the option of an @facebook.com domain, but Facebook hopes it will eventually revolutionize the way people use the Internet to communicate – emphasis on eventually.

In the lengthy announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and director of engineering Andrew Bosworth discussed the details of Project Titan while primarily focusing on the belief that it is the future of communication. What Zuckerberg also reiterated was that “this is not an e-mail killer.” When pressed specifically about the relationship between Facebook and Google, Zuckerberg mentioned some mild irritation with the media’s coverage of the companies’ public spat, and simply said, “I think Gmail’s a really good product…we just think that this simpler kind of message is how people will shift their communication.” In short, Facebook has no plans to beat Gmail (or Yahoo, Aol, or Hotmail) at its own game…yet. It’s the long run effect the company is looking at.

But aside to any dramatics of the day, Facebook gave an overall look at what users can expect from its new messaging system:

Seamless Messaging, Conversation History, and Social Inbox

These are the three principles the message system is built around. Seamless messaging will combine all the various ways you communicate into one place – SMS, chat, e-mail, Facebook IM, etc. You can archive or completely delete these threads at any time. Conversation History will now be one thread – no multiple threads over different applications. This works to show you your conversation with each individual person over time. The Social Inbox works as a spam filter. It’s a tiered system, ranking message importance by the amount you interact with another Facebook user. Your list of priority contacts are automatically created.

Project Titan

How it works

So how will Facebook decide what type of message to send to a person? While it was difficult to get a concrete answer (other than that this is what it will test on its first users in the months to come), it seems like it will use whatever is quickest. For instance, if a user sends an e-mail to another, who happens to be on Facebook, he’ll receive a Facebook IM. Still, the service will recognize users’ messaging preferences and defer to those. This system is called the Policy Engine, and aims to “try and make it so people don’t have to think about this stuff,” so that all you need is a “message and a person.”

Username@facebook.com

Yes, users will now have the option of a Facebook e-mail address. The interface is similar to many e-mail services, allowing attachments and displaying simple icons. What differs is the purposeful lack of a subject line and hitting “enter” will send your message.

Will this affect advertising?

Zuckerberg claimed that advertising would remain the same as it is now – a bar on the right hand side of the screen. It will still be based around what you provide in your profile, but the content of your messages will not be used for marketing purposes.

The Future of Messaging

Again and again, both Zuckerberg and Bosworth reminded us that this isn’t making e-mail obsolete. “We don’t expect anyone to shut down their Yahoo account and switch to Facebook tomorrow,” Zuckerberg said. At the same time, he stressed that this is a long-term project, because he believes this is eventually the way people will use online communication. “This is the way that the future should work…maybe [in the future] e-mail isn’t as important a part as it was before.”


Don’t expect to see any changes tomorrow. Facebook will slowly roll out its new messaging system, starting out as invite only and using feedback to finalize the project over the coming months.

Computing

I tried an LTE laptop for a month, and I wasn’t really convinced

LTE laptops offer up plenty of benefits and are becoming more common. After spending one month with one in my daily life in New York City, I really wondered if it is something that consumers really need in their lives.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Verizon begins RCS messaging rollout with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

What is RCS messaging? It's the successor to today's text messaging. It offers features like real-time audio, read receipts, and encryption, but adoption so far has been slow. Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

3DMark’s Port Royal lets you benchmark ray tracing on Nvidia’s RTX cards

UL is adding another benchmarking utility to its popular 3DMark suite to help gamers measure their graphics card's ray tracing performance. You'll soon be able to measure how Nvidia's RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti stack up.
Computing

Snatch Apple’s 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro for up to $1,200 off at B&H

The latest deal at B&H is offering up 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros, in space gray and silver, with Intel Core i7 quad-core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPUs with up to 2TB of SSD storage.
Computing

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Computing

Qualcomm’s dual-screen PC concept looks like two connected Surface Go tablets

In Qualcomm's video teaser, we got a glimpse of the company's vision for how a dual-screen ARM PC should work. The internet reacted to Qualcomm's video, calling the device in question merely a mashup of two Surface Go tablets.
Deals

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.
Computing

Hololens 2 could give the Always Connected PC a new, ‘aggressive’ form

Microsoft is said to be leaning on Qualcomm to power its Hololens 2 headset. Instead of Intel CPUs, the next Hololens could use a Snapdragon 850 processor, allowing it to benefit from the always-connected features.
Computing

Chrome’s dark mode may cast its shadow over Macs by early 2019

By early 2019 Google may release a version of Chrome for Mac users that offers a Dark Mode feature to match MacOS Mojave's recent darkening.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.