How considerate of Facebook to wait until Read/WriteWeb's Facebook Week to announce their first major acquisition. For an as-yet-undisclosed sum, Facebook has acquired Parakey, a Web OS company founded by Firefox co-founders Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt. Read/WriteWeb was one of the first blogs to profile Parakey last November, and at the time Richard MacManus said that Parakey had "the potential to help bridge the current gap between Web and desktop applications."

Ross describes Parakey as "a Web operating system that can do everything an OS can do." Here's a quote from an IEEE Spectrum article that I think explains what the still-unlaunched Parakey is attempting to be pretty well:

"Today, something like e-mail can involve two completely different experiences, depending on whether or not you’re using the Web -- Outlook versus Hotmail, for example. A Parakey e-mail program, on the other hand, provides a single access point for your mail, "unifying the desktop and the Web," in Ross’s words. Parakey is intended to be a platform for tools that can manipulate just about anything on your hard drive -- e-mail, photos, videos, recipes, calendars."

The big question is, what does Facebook want with Parakey? It seems fairly clear that Facebook wants their platform to become the OS for the web, but now it also seems that perhaps they want to be come the operating system period.

TechCrunch is reporting that Google may also have been a bidder for Parakey. Considering Google's moves into the web platform space and the long standing rumors of a Google OS, that wouldn't surprise me.

What do you think about Facebook's acquisition? Does this make sense for the company? Does this signal that they are trying to compete with Redmond? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.