Google vs. Apple vs. Microsoft and every other iteration. That's been the story of the last few months. Google and Apple hate Microsoft because they lead the way in desktop apps. Google and Microsoft hate Apple because they lead the way in mobile technology. Apple and Microsoft hate Google because Google is encroaching on their territory in both cases. That's the stripped down version, at least. They fight over way more: browsers, operating systems, online applications, search, and even slogans. Just yesterday, I was musing at how it seemed like "just yesterday" (which would be the day before yesterday, I guess, in this story) that it was Apple and Google vs. Microsoft and that was it. Microsoft was the big, bad behemoth and Apple and Google were the shining innovators looking to take down the old regime. "My! how things have changed," I thought to myself.

Well, as it turns out, if you pay close attention, this isn't a three-horse race.

The other player in this game is Facebook. Facebook? Yeah, Facebook, you know: the third most highly trafficked site on the Internet, the most pervasive social phenomenon of the day, the #1 destination for the nation's youth, young adults and young professionals. Sure, you may use Google to search for something or Wikipedia to find out more about it but it's Facebook that you'll hang out, communicate and interact. Well, as it turns out, Facebook is looking to take aim at Gmail and traditional email with the release of Project Titan. This full-featured email system could very well change the way that people look at email. Yeah, we were saying the same thing about Google Wave but the difficult of Google Wave is getting everyone on board. For the most part, all of my peers already are on board with Facebook. Integration of your online social space with email would only make Facebook that much more useful (rather than complicated, as is the current hurdle with Wave).

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch sums it up well, "Gmail killer? I don’t think so. But a strong product move nonetheless." No kidding!

Kudos to Facebook. They may be the dark horse but they are definitely a contender is what appears to be a true four-horse race. [TechCrunch]