So now not only are the gloves off, but the knuckle dusters are on...
This week Facebook has taken its biggest step to date in squaring up to micro blogging phenomenon Twitter with the release of 'Facebook Lite'. As the name suggests this is a stripped down version of Facebook and it turns the social networking site into essentially a stream of both you and your friends' most recent status updates. Sound familiar?
In terms of layout side columns are virtually eliminated with just Wall, Info, Friends, Photos & Video categories on the left and some advertising on the right (image courtesy of Hacker News). So in a snap you're pretty close to your Twitter front page, just without the ability to listen to anyone you want.
The idea behind all this? It is almost certainly a first step towards closer integration with Facebook's recent $50m purchase FriendFeed, the popular data sharing tool. It is also clearly a strike against Twitter, especially given Facebook's now open API.
Can Facebook match and even surpass Twitter at its own game? In my opinion no, how the two services go about their business models is fundamentally different, but does the move make the social networking sector more interesting? Oh yes...
Facebook Lite (requires beta invite to access)