Many have tried to revolutionize email and have failed. Even Google with all their resources failed to turn Goggle Wave in to an email killer. So users are stuck with an antiquated system from the 70’s. Little has changed since those pioneering days. You still have the basic format of From: To: Subject: & Msg body. Once you give out your email, you have little control over who can send you spam.
Google tried various tools like prioritized inbox and mute but those are merely filters. Now Facebook is giving it a try with an email system that is not grouped by subject but rather grouped by people and converstations. It makes sense for a Facebook email system but as general email, grouping by subject or sender has its pros and cons. Ideally, email should understand how to prioritize itself based on context but that runs into all kinds of privacy issues if an email system starts scanning content to determine relevance.
The new Facebook email will integrate email with chat and sms messaging. It will determine reply methods based on online status and other criterion so to limit potentially expensive sms messaging fees. Various features will permit blocking of unwanted contact. It is setup to allow only emails from your FB friends and their friends so it will never replace generic email.
Time will tell if have any real impact. How will you use this and will it really change the way your communicate?