Web-based e-mail next for Facebook, sources say

By Reuters
Posted Nov. 12, 2010 at 3:54 p.m.

Facebook will unveil changes to its messaging system  Monday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The changes to the messaging service will be “across the board,” the person said, which could escalate the competition between the world’s No. 1 Internet social networking site and Google Inc .
Google, which controls roughly two-thirds of the global search market, offers the third-most popular e-mail service, behind Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., according to Web analytics firm comScore. Last week, Google began blocking Facebook from importing user contact data from its Gmail  service.

A report Friday on the technology-focused blog TechCrunch said that Facebook, whose social networking service has more than 500 million users, will introduce a full-fledged Web-based e-mail product  Monday along with providing users +facebook.com addresses.

A Facebook representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This week, Facebook e-mailed reporters an invitation to a “special event” in San Francisco on Monday, which the company said was being held before CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s talk at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco Tuesday.

While the invitation did not offer any details about what will be discussed, the design of the invitation featured a checkered blue-and-red border similar to air mail envelopes, sparking speculation on many tech blogs.

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