Facebook has poached Matt Papakipos, the lead engineer behind Google's important Chrome Operating System initiative.
"Now that Chrome OS & WebGL are in good shape, it's time for something new. I'm going to work @ Facebook!"
Google commented: "Matt made great contributions to Google, and we know he'll do the same in his next endeavors. We wish him the best."
How this loss will impact Chrome OS, which is still on track to roll out on netbooks from HP, Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Dell beginning this fall, is unclear.
Google should be careful well-wishing employees leaving for Facebook, which has become Google's greatest threat on the Web and has lured an alarming number of ex-Google executives and engineers.
Facebook, which also lured Jocelyn Goldfein, a vice president and general manager of VMware's desktop business unit, was excited about the hires in a statement to eWEEK:
"We've landed two accomplished, senior people to join the Facebook engineering team-Matthew Papakipos and Jocelyn Goldfein. Both are about as accomplished as they come and we can't wait for them to hit the ground running as key players on the team."
Facebook declined to say what Papakipos and Goldfein will be playing at, or whether they will be on the same product team.
But given the expertise of both, it may not be a stretch to say Facebook has some cloud operating system and virtualization designs of its own.
Unlike Google, which creates new products to expand its presence horizontally across the Web, the cloud operating system would be created within the social context of Facebook.
Everything that company has done to date has been to add more functionality to a network that appeals to nearly 500 million users.
In the background of all this is the increased rivalry between Google, which is trying to duplicate its rival's success in building a social network people want to use every day, and Facebook, which is adding more search functionality.