Gmail challenges Facebook with new social feed

Google is apparently planning to challenge Facebook by rolling out a new feature that will allow Gmail users to easily view and set detailed social status updates.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new module – which could be introduced as early as this week – is expected to display a stream of status updates from individuals that a Gmail user chooses to connect with.

“The stream will also eventually include content that a user’s connections share through YouTube and Picasa. But whether those features will also be announced in the coming days remains [uncertain],” wrote Jessica E. Vascellaro of the WSJ.

“[Clearly], Google is trying to get users to turn to Gmail as place they can go to see what’s up with their friends. But whether Internet users will want to blend sending email with browsing friends’ content is unclear.”

Vascellaro noted that Google had attempted to transform Gmail into “more than an e-mail service” for years and added that the company’s latest idea was floated just a week after Facebook introduced its new design.

As TG Daily previously reported, one analyst recently speculated that the rapidly growing social networking website could eventually depose Google by becoming the world’s “leading” news reader.

“[Facebook] is an interface hundreds of millions of people know and love. The newsfeed model has been popularized by Facebook and so encouraging news subscription through it will be infinitely easier than trying to get people to use something new,” explained Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read Write Web.

“Special messages can [also] be posted directly to readers. Facebook isn’t a rigid ‘publish and subscribe’ only channel, it’s a broader opportunity for communication than dedicated RSS readers offer. That makes more sense to users and is compelling to publishers.”