In fact, Facebook still manages internal operations using a custom version of Asana that Moskovitz and Rosenstein built while at the company. "We could've just built an activity feed," Rosenstein said, "but we wanted to build a holistic solution from the ground up that replaces what we do with email. Asana is free to use for up to 30 people in a group, and scales up by price with each batch of users you add.
Asana's Inbox looks like your Facebook News Feed, except without all the pictures, and without all the stuff that isn't deliberately shared with you. Inbox contains updates to tasks, comments, due date changes, and other status updates people would normally reserve for email. If you're on a task / thread you're not interested in, you can easily unfollow it. Instead of using email threads, you communicate by commenting on tasks. Each response from a group member is at its basest element just a reply-all message, and if a member of the task isn't using Asana, they're sent emails they can respond to. These responses are instantly threaded in to the conversation on Asana.
While Asana's Inbox is by no means minimalist in appearance like many apps launching today, it's inherently less cluttered than an email inbox because every message or comment is tied to a task within Asana. There are no stray threads picking up on long-lost ideas or tasks — a common occurrence in email. Asana is organized, but also intimidating visually. "It's about giving users fine-grained control," Rosenstein said. "Part of why we're able to do this stuff is because of our background in consumer software — especially at Facebook. How do you express all this data in a compact way?" Competitor Trello looks simpler on the outside, but Rosenstein says that isn't the goal here. "Trello is more like a dashboard, and that works great, but Asana is more about getting to the granularity of email."
So Asana has built a new communication client with tons of metadata, file storage, and organization tools, but the place most people are increasingly checking for work-related messages is on a smartphone. On a four-inch screen, Asana's three-pane architecture doesn't perform so well. "Mobile is the weakest part of the experience right now," Rosenstein admitted. "It's our top priority." Asana also isn't yet an email replacement because it's catered to team communication. Random one-to-one emails with cat picture attachments between friends don't yet have much of a place on the service, but Rosenstein says that the long term goal is to kill email entirely. "Email isn't going away tomorrow," he said. "It was originally designed to mimic the way the post office sends messages. We've only gotten by because it's the lowest possible denominator."
This article was originally published on theverge.com - With big Asana update, Facebook co-founder Moskovitz wants to kill email