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FaceChat?

We love it when a long-rumoured tech product finally appears, especially if it's as cool as we were hoping. Apple's iPad, for example, managed to be far more revolutionary than anyone was expecting during the long months of rumours.

One company who tends to provoke particular speculation is Facebook. The social network giant tends to work on major projects for a long time, giving plenty of opportunities for leaks. It was known to be working on a new messaging project, codenamed Titan, long before it released its upgrade to Messages a few months ago.

The most persistent rumour over the last few months has been of some sort of video chat service. After all, Facebook's Chat service is the world's most popular IM service, so it makes sense to complement it with video chat. Months ago Facebook announced a deep partnership with video-chat giants Skype, but so far not much has come of it, leading to speculation that a full in-Facebook Skype service was being (slowly) developed.

Well, we'll find out tomorrow. Facebook have invited journalists to an event which seems to have something to do with chat, and the blog TechCrunch is reporting that it's to launch browser-based video chat in Facebook, powered by Skype.

If it's true, why now? Well, that's simple - Microsoft. The software giant is a shareholder in and strategic partner of Facebook, and as of about a month ago, it's also the owner of Skype. So any reservations Skype may have had about partnering with - and potentially being a bit swallowed by - the world's largest social network have just been removed.

Of course, this could all turn out to be something else entirely. Facebook do sometimes take people by surprise - the Groups upgrade announced last year, for example, wasn't really predicted. One thing's for sure - we'll let you know as soon as we know what's afoot.

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