Google gets ready to make Gmail a little more social

Google is getting ready to add social-networking features into Gmail
as it attempts to jump-start its social Web strategy.

Gmail users can already set their status within the service,
but Google plans to expand that into a stream of status updates found in
services like Facebook and Twitter, according to sources familiar with
the company’s plans. Users will also be able to share photos and videos
through the service, which is expected to launch shortly.

Google has
doubled down on its social Web strategy in recent months, with new
hires and plans to devote more energy to understanding the social-media
phenomenon. The company has tried to get momentum behind its ideas for
several years, but hasn’t gained much traction to date.

Separately, Google
is building Google Wave as a similar stream of updates designed to
improve collaboration. That service, which is unrelated to the Gmail
status updates Google is preparing, is expected to become completely
open sometime this year.

One key factor surrounding Google’s plan will be the degree to which the
service works with other popular social-networking services, namely
Twitter and Facebook. Users who are already accustomed to sending
updates across those services won’t switch to the Gmail interface unless
they can get all their messages in a central spot.



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