Facebook Friends Email

Silicon Valley has been all a-twitter over the oft-repeated, much reported and highly likely rumor that Facebook will launch some sort of email functionality. Monday CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook will do just that.

Facebook will give its users an @facebook.com email address, that will tie in Facebook's messaging system with SMS, IMs, email, and chat messages.

"This is not an email killer," Zuckerberg said. "This is a messaging system that includes email as one part of it."

But the young face of the company was quick to point out that Facebook does not view its new feature as email at all.

"This is not e-mail," he said. "We don't think that a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail."

Still the obvious competitor in this space is Gmail -- that wonder of Google-time projects. Some say Facebook getting into the fray, could kill Gmail. Others think it's a nonstarter.

Will these two services really compete? Or will they even be integrated somehow (highly unlikely given Google's snark last week about FB's privacy settings, but still). Some analysts at least see Facebook's email announcement as a direct shot at Google's advertising dominance.

Many business types use Gmail to combine disparate email accounts, calendaring functions and document reading and sharing.

Facebook is social. It reminds us of a "friend's" birthday and shares that pic of the baby eating spaghetti for the first time.

And instant messaging is an overlapping functionality, so it doesn't add to any competitive edge.

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