UPDATE 2/9/2010: Google officially took the wraps off of 'Google Buzz,' a new social feature coming to Gmail. Read more about the release and Google Buzz's features here.
* * * * *
Google may be adding new social features to Gmail that would allow users to more quickly and easily share status updates and media the Wall Street Journal reports, citing 'people familiar with the matter.'
Gmail's new feature would make it 'a little more like Facebook,' says the Wall Street Journal's Jessica Vascellaro (see video below). 'Google is hoping that if people are spending some time checking out what their friends are up to on Gmail, that's time they may not be checking what their friends are up to on Facebook.'
The Wall Street Journal detailed capabilities the new social media tool might include:
Currently, Gmail has a chat bar that can display a short "away message" for each user's contacts. But the new interface will have an area that users can click through to see updates from more friends in a stream--a format popularized by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., these people said.
Google also plans to integrate content that is shared through its YouTube video-sharing service and its Picasa photo-sharing service into the stream of status updates, according to one person familiar with the matter. But whether Google will launch those features in the coming days remains unclear.
The Wall Street Journal noted that a Google spokesperson declined to comment on any forthcoming Gmail features, although the anonymous source cited in the article suggested the social features could be unveiled later this week.
The Business Insider described the rumored Gmail additions as Google's 'Twitter killer.'
Read more on the Wall Street Journal.