Google may have had good reason to give its employees a big fat bonus. Facebook is scheduled to make a big announcement today, and the buzz is that the social networking site is announcing the launch of its own email service. That’s buzz kill for its archrival Google, which operates the popular Gmail service.

Facebook and Google have been feuding over email recently, with Zuck et al refusing to allow users to export their Facebook contacts lists to Google. Inevitably, Google responded by refusing to allow Googlers to export their contact lists to Facebook. With both sites accused of data hoarding, Facebook could be taking it up a notch by launching its own email service.

But is this just the bickering of two giants? Not according to CNN. They claim that “These companies hold the keys to millions of peoples’ online identities. They control whether you can download or export lists of your contacts, where on the internet you can use those lists, and which data companies they’ll sell this information to.” With this, says Peter Cashmore, founder of Mashable, “Facebook would become the hub of online communication.”

Facebook certainly has the know-how to create a competitive email system. Gmail creator Paul Buchheit is one of the Google refugees who found a new home in Facebook. While he has since left the company, the knowledge that he brought lives on in it, despite his denial that he has been working on an email service.
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