Why Is mail.facebook.com Pointing To An Outlook Web App Login?

This whole Facebook Mail thing is getting curiouser and curiouser.

After our post on Facebook taking control of fb.com, a number of people have reached out to say that mail.fb.com actually resolved to mail.thefacebook.com (that doesn’t seem to be the case for all people). What’s interesting about that is that mail.thefacebook.com (and mail.facebook.com) is live for all to see. It’s an Outlook Web App with a nice big Facebook logo that asks you for a username and password.

What’s really interesting about this is the report¬†from All About Microsoft yesterday that Facebook’s new mail system may integrate with Office Web Apps. Obviously, Outlook is a part of those. Could this be the way that users are going to log in to check their new Facebook mail?

Probably not. Based on what we’ve heard,¬†mail.thefacebook.com is actually the domain that Facebook employees use to remotely log in to check their work email. The fact that mail.fb.com is pointing to it, just seems to suggest that Facebook may be pointing all fb.com domains to their corresponding facebook.com domains (again, at least for some people).

But here’s what everyone really wants to know: are we going to get @facebook.com or @fb.com email addresses? Earlier today, Inside Facebook wondered if fb.com would be used for employees only, and facebook.com would be opened to the public. A report tonight in The New York Times cites two sources also saying that the public will be given facebook.com addresses (that’s what we initially heard as well).

But there could be a third scenario. It could be that Facebook allows people to have pick between the two domains, or simply have both. For example, you could email someone on Facebook at vanityname@fb.com or vanityname@facebook.com.

Or maybe Facebook isn’t planning on doing anything with the fb.com domain at this time other than redirect it to Facebook. But we’re heard one story of a Facebook employee boasting that starting next week their email address will be getting a lot shorter.

Stay tuned for more on Monday.

Update: Heard from a few more people in the know that mail.facebook.com is definitely Facebook’s employee mail access, like I said above. They’ve long used Exchange to handle their mail though it’s not clear if they’ll switch to use whatever this new mail service is yet (Google, for example, uses Gmail, obviously).

Nor is it clear if they’ll make mail.facebook.com open to this new mail product. For example, mail.google.com is Gmail, not their internal email login.