This piece (via Forbes.com) explores the idea, which Google does not deny or confirm. Says Google may do its own branded email service.
From the piece: Google last year purchased an e-mail management software maker and in 2001 registered the domain name googlemail.com.
Some in Silicon Valley also believe Google could be preparing to launch free e-mail to compete with offerings from Yahoo and MSN’s Hotmail.
“If they were to go the e-mail route they’d have to provide an offering that competes with free (e-mail). Anti-spam is one form of strong differentiation,” said Jim Pitkow, chief executive of Moreover Technologies, whose personalized search company Outride was acquired by Google in 2001.