Test Drive: Facebook's Redesign Is a Step Forward

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Facebook is rolling out the update in phases; as of last night, 80% of users had received it, according to a company spokeswoman.

In other Facebook news -- or, rather, rumor -- TechCrunch reports that Facebook is working on the sooper-seekrit "Project Titan," which would turn Facebook messaging into a fully-featured Webmail client. Your e-mail address would be your customized vanity URL @facebook.com -- for example, I would be mitch.wagner@facebook.com.

The best part: The Facebook mail upgrade would make Facebook compliant with the POP and IMAP protocols, meaning you could use your favorite mail client -- Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, whatever -- to access your Facebook messages.

I love Facebook messages because they make it easy to get in touch with anyone. You may not know the current e-mail address for people you haven't talked with in a while. But they're probably on Facebook, which makes it easy for you to get back in touch with them.

But I also hate Facebook messages, because I have a very efficient system in place for dealing with e-mail, and Facebook messages break that system.

Please, Facebook, make this rumor true.

Interestingly, Paul Buchheit, who created Gmail, is now at Facebook; Buchheit co-founded FriendFeed, which Facebook acquired. But Buchheit is not working on Facebook mail, according to Reuters.

Facebook declined to comment on the Project Titan reports.

While Facebook beefs up search (I told you I'd come back to that) and, reportedly, e-mail; search and e-mail giant Google is reportedly planning to add status updates to Gmail, making Gmail more like Facebook and Twitter. I can't get excited by this idea; I already have Facebook and Twitter; why do I need Gmail status updates? It's possible I'm missing something; supposedly the announcement is later today, we'll see what Google has to say then.

This story, "Test Drive: Facebook's Redesign Is a Step Forward" was originally published by Computerworld.

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