I encountered this question in an interview.
Both shared memory and message queues can be used to exchange information between processes. The difference is in how they are used.
Shared memory is exactly what you'd think: it's an area of storage that can be read and written by more than one process. It provides no inherent synchronization; in other words, it's up to the programmer to ensure that one process doesn't clobber another's data. But it's efficient in terms of throughput: reading and writing are relatively fast operations.
A message queue is a one-way pipe: one process writes to the queue, and another reads the data in the order it was written until an end-of-data condition occurs. When the queue is created, the message size (bytes per message, usually fairly small) and queue length (maximum number of pending messages) are set. Access is slower than shared memory because each read/write operation is typically a single message. But the queue guarantees that each operation will either processes an entire message successfully or fail without altering the queue. So the writer can never fail after writing only a partial message, and the reader will either retrieve a complete message or nothing at all.