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Facebook likely to launch its own Webmail service

The recent spat Facebook had with Google over data portability makes the launch a keenly watched event.

Speculations are rife that Facebook might launch its own webmail service, giving stiff competition to emailing giants like Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail.

Facebook spokesperson refused to comment on the rumors about future products, but an invitation sent to the media hours before the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco today has fueled these speculations.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to be present during this event.

The technology site Techcrunch has reported that Facebook's webmail product is codenamed Project Titan. More than 500 million Facebook users will have their personal@facebook.com email address.

It is yet not clear why Facebook is launching its own webmail product when the market is dominated by giants like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft that already have more than 1 billion users.

Facebook’s objective behind webservice unclear
Another site ZDnet has reported that Facebook will integrate its Webmail with the Office suite of Microsoft, allowing the users to share and create MS Word, Power Point, Excel, and One note documents. It is seen as a step towards the development of Microsoft Docs.

It is yet not clear why Facebook is launching its own webmail product when the market is dominated by giants like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft that already have more than 1 billion users.

Also, many believe that the service is not required as the social networking site is already offering web-based communication. Facebook offers direct messaging service and also allows sharing of photos, videos, messages, and links.

But Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group analyst, believes that while the existing communications of Facebook are suitable for short, instant messages, the Webmail client could be useful for other users.

“People use a variety of communication tools in their daily arsenal with both social networking, SMS and e-mail as primary tools,” said Owyang. “By extending their product features, they are poised to spend more time with consumers, increasing the revenue opportunities. This is a good move for them.”

Facebook has talent to create webmail product
Last year, Facebook had acquired social network aggregator FriendFeed, which was created by Gmail creators Paul Bucheit and Bret Taylor.

Currently, Taylor is working as the chief technical officer of Facebook. Thus, Facebook certainly has the ability to launch its own Webmail client, termed by many as the Gmail-killer. And the recent spat Facebook had with Google over data portability makes the launch a keenly watched event.