Facebook Messages: Small Change, Big Impact.

Dear Facebook: Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

In August Facebook opened up their messaging system to allow people to add normal email addresses. I wrote a post praising the change, but I specifically asked for more:

Facebook makes you log on to the site to read messages/emails from your friends. They’ll send a note to your normal email address when a new message comes in, but they make you log on to Facebook to actually read it.

I rarely do that, and have missed some important messages from people trying to contact me. As a next step, I think Facebook should offer to forward the actual messages to an outside email address (and/or provide a password protected RSS feed). Eventually Facebook should offer full POP or IMAP support for their email. They can still restrict it so that you can only receive messages from friends, but at least you could access it from your desktop or web based mail application.

Before tonight, Facebook just sent an email saying that a new message was received, forcing me to click on the message and log into Facebook before I could actually read it.

Tonight Facebook changed that policy. Suddenly, Facebook messages are actually forwarded to my outside email address, letting me read it and decide if it’s important enough to click on to Facebook and respond.

This is great. It’s frickin wonderful, even. And Facebook clearly did this even though it reduces page views from people clicking on those messages just to see what they say.

Ok, next step. Just admit that this is a full on webmail application and give me IMAP, or at least POP, access to the account.