--Updated Facebook Messaging story with facebook.com email address clarification.

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- On Monday,

Facebook

introduced its comprehensive email system that will

compete directly

with

Google's

(GOOG) - Get Report

Gmail and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

Mail.

In an attempt to give users more control over who can reach them, Facebook is applying its social networking strategy to prioritize messages from friends and family, similar to Google's effort launched last month.

After years of watching friend lists bloat beyond manageable levels, Facebook's messaging service will give friends VIP status.

Facebook's new venture promises to give users the ability to filter emails by blocking any email that isn't sent by someone already in the friend list. Facebook also says the messaging service will incorporate more instant messaging along with email and mobile text messages into strings of communications or conversations.

The service, which will have the address facebook.com, will start rolling out "real slowly," first as an invite system and then more broadly as the company takes in feedback and makes changes to the service, according to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, whose presentation was broadcast live from San Francisco Monday. Facebook employees will take over the fb.com email address that formerly belonged to the Farm Bureau.

Zuckerberg said the roadmap includes the ability to operate with other email systems and include advertising on the right side of the screen, which is based on user interests and choices made by users.

The Facebook messaging plan takes a big swipe not just at the current Web mail industry, but it also hopes to take some of the instant messaging business that was pioneered by

AOL

(AOL)

.

The move is also the latest by Facebook that crosses boundaries into rival turf.

Facebook has become the

No. 1 poacher of Google talent

. It has also

unnerved Apple

by mysteriously scheming for a

rival mobile phone strategy

.

"Gmail is a really good product," said Zuckerberg when asked how this will compete with Google's email system. "Email is still very important to a lot of people." He also explained that Facebook messaging will include instant messages and Facebook comments beyond email.

"If we build a good product that people want to use, then they will use it," said Zuckerberg.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/MoritzDispatch.>To send a tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

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