Today I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my Facebook Messages had finally been integrated with the Facebook email functionality. Facebook email is a feature that was announced November 2010, but hasn't been fully rolled out to all users.
Now that i've seen it first hand here are some of the changes I've noticed:
Facebook Email Interface:
Overall the new Facebook Messages interface is similar to its predecessor, but with added archive and marking functionality. The search bar and message button have also been moved. Searching your inbox is now easier with a drop down menu of limiters in the searchbar itself. To send an email from your @facebook.com account simply click the New Message button; just be sure to include the recipients full email address in the To: field.
Also, all conversations are consolidated in to one thread with the new Facebook Messages. So this means your chat history is now saved within Messages. One new feature within Facebook Chat is "open conversation" which is next to the close button. This takes you straight to an extended conversation that includes messages, chat, SMS, and email with that friend.
The best feature of the extended conversation is the new menu bar which allows you to attach files, take pictures from a cam, send a SMS, or a message. A note on Facebook SMS notices: if someone tries to send you a message via SMS and your mobile account is not verified then you'll receive a prompt to active your mobile account. Know that if your mobile phone number is already linked to a Facebook Fan page or Facebook Places page then you cannot activate your SMS on your personal account. The quick reply option allows you to use the enter key to send the message rather than clicking reply; this feature can be toggled on/off.
If you open an extended conversation with a friend and they do not have the new Facebook Messages then you'll see an invite box above the advertisements to the right hand side. If you feel so inclined you can invite them to the new platform which will send an invitation when more are available. If you're dying to get yours now then you can go here and request an invitation.
This video from Facebook.com clearly states the purpose of Facebook Email if you're interested in learning more:
In the end I think that the best addition to the new Messages system is the ability to send attachments. Other than that I'd say most tech savvy users do not need a Facebook Email since most of us have two or more addresses already. Although, I could see Facebook Email best suited for older audiences on Facebook who have a difficult time managing multiple online platforms.
That's just me, try it for yourself and see what works best for you.