Gmail Gets a Tad 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 like 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.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Google's plans for status updates inside of Gmail.
By Tom Krazit