Facebook Allows Users to Upgrade to the New Messages Product, Why You Should

Some users are seeing a prompt when they visit their Facebook Messages inbox allowing them to upgrade to the New Messages product launched in closed beta in November. The product automatically filters non-essential communications into an Other folder, allowing the main inbox to show only important messages. It also routes sent messages to whichever device or interface Facebook deems is the most convenient for the recipient, whether that’s Chat, Messages, SMS, or email. While initially only available to press and an early tester-base, it appears all users will soon be able to upgrade to New Messages.

At the product’s launch event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that New Messages was built to facilitate modern communication which is simple, immediate, lightweight, and personal like SMS and instant messaging, opposed to more formal, asynchronous email. Though users get an @facebook.com email address, Facebook doesn’t expect users to shift things like payment receipts and newsletters there. Instead, the product reduces noise, eases cross-interface conversation, and creates a more comprehensive record of the communication users already perform. Users who don’t see the prompt to upgrade on their inbox can visit the New Messages about page to request an invitation. We expect a full rollout to occur in the next month or so, similar to how the profile redesign is now being pushed to all users.

The best part about New Messages is how it brings Chat into threaded, searchable conversation history. If someone sends you Message, but you’re online, you’ll see it as a Chat. If you send them back a Chat and they’ve already logged off, it will be routed to their New Messages inbox, and shown in the same thread as your previous Chat. This means you don’t have to worry about conversations breaking down because one person changed the interface through which they were communicating. Or if you accidentally close your last Facebook web interface window or head out the door, you’ll still be able to access those Chats from your phone in the form of Messages.

This system is similar to the interplay of Gchat and Gmail, and its adoption could pull users away from Google who use that company’s product for their reliability of delivery. The New Messages product also separates conversations by people rather than by interface, between which the lines are blurring as users increasingly use Chat, email, and Facebook Messages from their mobile device as well as the web. Other useful features of New Messages include forwarding and attachment support, and a one-click “Mark as Read/Unread” option.

The main problem with New Messages at present is the filtering of conversations. Event, Page, and Group updates are usually filtered properly into the Other inbox, leaving a high-signal, low-noise main inbox of one-to-one messages. However, Messages, including time-sensitive businesses communications, from people who aren’t your friend and don’t have mutual friends are filtered into the Other inbox as well. Without the red notification counter on your home page or gray counters on your Messages sidebar navigation link, it’s easy to forget that important Messages may be being filtered out.

For instance, I didn’t check my Other inbox for a few weeks and had multiple Messages from people who wanted to show me their soon-to-launch products. When Facebook sought to inform users of the five-day window to give feedback on proposed changes to its privacy terms via the Facebook Site Governance Page, that Message was also filtered out. Some users prefer to Message someone they’ve met before adding them as a friend, but these personal, social, one-to-one Messages might not reach their recipients until much later. Users can move a conversation between inboxes once it has started, but Facebook could address part of the problem by allowing users to opt to have the first Message from someone they aren’t connected to routed to their main inbox.

Overall, Messages will help most Facebook users. It anticipates the shift to using multiple devices and interfaces to conduct a single conversation. It also declutters the inbox by removing spammy and low-value Page and Event updates. Professionals who are frequently contacted by those they aren’t connected to will need to pay attention to their Other inbox. But for most, we advise upgrading or requesting an invitation to New Messages because it improves one of the core uses of Facebook — instant communication with friends.

[Note: it's currently unclear when Facebook shows counters for the Other inbox. This feature is still undergoing rapid development.]

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Leave a Reply

22 Responses to “Facebook Allows Users to Upgrade to the New Messages Product, Why You Should”

  1. adspedia says:

    I upgraded 3 weeks ago. Works like a charm. I am available if you have any questions or needs screen-shots/videos of actual usage.

  2. free gift cards - John says:

    A very useful new!
    I will test the functional

  3. tania tun says:

    I can risived massage but i can,t chat with them i can see that thy are on line but i can,t chat

  4. luke says:

    And who decides what is “important”??? This is going to fail on so many levels. Importance is subjective.

  5. Himadri Dimri says:

    I still havnt got this feature. I guess Facebook enjoy to torture people at times. Tell them something new is going to happen, give invitation to some of them and leave the rest to wonder when will they get it all. x-( Bad!

  6. BGK says:

    Last night I finally received my invite and I must say I really enjoy the new messages! Big improvement!

  7. Alvin Lin says:

    I got an invite for facebook new messages 2 weeks ago, till now still can’t login to the page. It’s always show me “Something went wrong, but we’re working to fix it as soon as we can. Please try again later”. Please help.

  8. Ryan says:

    Same issue as Alvin Lin.
    Got the invite, and ever since when going to Messages, receive the “Something went wrong..” error. Chat doesn’t work. Messages don’t work on any device/platform. Not receiving messages (no notification email).

  9. Sebi says:

    I got the same problem, i can’t access my inbox since i got the invitation to upgrade. Just the following message
    “Something went wrong, but we’re working to fix it as soon as we can. Please try again later” :(

  10. anuj says:

    can we switch back to the older facebook?
    i HATE this one…
    plz tell if there is any way to switch back…

  11. Josh Constine says:

    @Anuj: There is no way to revert to the old Messages or any older version of Facebook.

  12. Alvin Lin says:

    Is been like this for almost 2 weeks already, what is happening? Emailed facebook, but with no reply, this is a serious technical problem.

  13. Alvin Lin says:

    I tried it with others facebook account in same browser(old facebook message), but didn’t encounter this issue at all. So is clearly not a browser problem.

  14. Alex says:

    I can get into my inbox…I have a convo with one person that’s roughly eleven thousand messages long, apparently.

    Now that I’ve upgraded, I:

    1) I’m not getting any messages she’s sent me. At all. Which is depressing.
    2) It’s deleted every message we’ve sent to each other since the 26th O.O I needed some of the info that was in there -.-

  15. Henry says:

    Hi, All,

    I encountered the same problem. This is how I solve it. I am not sure if this is the cause. I suspect the new upgrade will use your facebook password to access your email account. e.g if your facebook login id is xxyyzz@gmail.com, then you need to change your gmail password same as your facebook account password. After I change it, my facebook inbox back to normal after 2-3 days. I guess facebook inbox will try to retrieve your email from your email account and display it in facebook inbox when you click the inbox, if it can’t access your email account due to wrong password, it will hang there.

    Hope this help and can solve your problem.
    Mine is working now. :)

  16. Josh Constine says:

    @Henry: Facebook does not pull existing emails from your email inbox into your Messages inbox. Your issue being resolved was unrelated to your password change.

  17. Dmitrijs says:

    Guys with all due respect this is actually the first time you didn’t think it properly.
    If you chat (in chat) with the person often enough, but also use messages (with different topics), there’s no way you will be able to locate any of your messages with a specific topic… Even if (no such option yet) you will allow to disable the chat history there, Messages has to be arranged by topics!
    Imagine if all your work e-mails from particular client becomes one long one? Same story here – totally messed now.

  18. Josh Constine says:

    @Dmitrijs: You can use the search bar in Messages to find specific topics within conversations.

  19. Dmitrijs says:

    Josh,
    to find one message amongst hundreds of chat texts? You call it improvement?
    And as far as I could figure out from this mess created, the messages on particular topic don’t go as a thread, they are arranged by time… You can imagine how useful it is.
    And (confratulations!) it can actually get worse – around 50% of the messages in inbox were with no title…how do I find these conversations now?

  20. evienewbs says:

    i havent upgraded yet, but my boyriend has. and now he says he can see when i inbox him, but i cant see what he has sent me. none of his messages are delivering to anyone when he sends them. what does he do?

  21. What the Facebook Message Platform Means for Churches says:

    [...] According to Inside Facebook, “The best part about new messages is how it brings chat into threaded, searchable conversation history. If someone sends you a message when you’re online, you’ll see it as a chat. If you send them back a chat and they’ve already logged off, it’ll be routed to their new messages inbox, and shown in the same thread as your previous chat. This means you don’t have to worry about conversations breaking down because one person changed the interface through which they were communicating.” [...]

  22. Facebook推出獨立的Messenger Mobile App : it’s the right and smart Move! - Inside 網路趨勢觀察 says:

    [...] 手機上操作的介面與電腦Web端介面大不同,即便Facebook已經有Mobile App Version,但設計上主要是便利最常使用的”News Feed”以及”Notifications”,雖然App介面上有Messages的項目,操作上並不直接。已經有越來越多人使用Facebook Messages的功能(且與使用News Feed的用途不同),於手機上若有一個單獨的App,功能訴求簡單清楚,可以讓使用者快速地傳遞訊息,提高便利性會因此增加更高的使用率。筆者安裝了Facebook Messenger後,確實感受到這樣的便利性,會傾向經常使用。 [...]

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