Techcrunch is reporting that Facebook is in the trenches and just about to attack the messaging beach front, a move that will be debated as a Gmail killer.
I don't think it'll happen and here's why.
First off, Gmail has taken over the email world. Due to it's funcationality, accessibility and all around smartness, Gmail quickly squashed Hotmal and Yahoo mail (and others). Users are widely embedded with the service, me included.
While Facebook is the online gateway to information for 350 million plus users, Gmail still has a strong following in my opinion -- so much so that users won't take the initiative to move over to Facebook. Now, if somehow Gmail will be able to work inside of Facebook, that'll be a game-changer. However, I highly doubt that will happen.
Another point to make is that email is such a simple interface and Facebook can be noisey at times. Will users want to clutter an already crownded sandbox (Facebook) with their newsletters, emails from mom, buddy chat's about a road trip, etc.?
I don't think so. I'd almost equate this similarly to the seperation between church and state. You have to keep 'em seperated.
I do, however, think Techcrunch is correct about vanity URLs and Facebook connect and how those two key features to the service have set the tone on the social web. The addition of messaging with these features could be a game changer. But, a Gmail killer, nah. Don't think so (not yet at least).