Facebook has quietly launched an open Data Store API beta program that may indicate plans to offer a data storage service to developers.

Since Sunday, the Facebook Developer wiki has included a page offering users beta access to a data storage service. However, the wiki does warn users that the page is still in development and that users should make sure that data used in testing the service is properly backed up.

Facebook officials could not be reached for comment.

The wiki does not elaborate upon how much storage is available to developers as part of the open beta. Further, there is no information provided about pricing or how much capacity the eventual storage service will provide.

In his unofficial Facebook blog, Nick ONeill said he doubts that the nascent data storage service will carry no charge. But if it did, he noted that the impact on the site would be tremendous.

“I can’t imagine them providing this service for free. If they do decide to make the service completely free, Facebook will have created an even bigger revolution,” posted ONeill on his blog.

ONeill speculates that Facebook’s aspirations for entering the storage arena could be to wrestle away business from Amazon’s S3 service, or perhaps to even challenge Google Inc.’s considerable user base and popularity.

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