Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Gmail adding features to rival Facebook

Google is gearing up to give serious competition to Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites. The search giant's free email service Gmail is reportedly planning to make Gmail more social by allowing users to exchange status updates with friends and share Web content links.

According to a report in Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the change will add a module to the Gmail screen that will display a stream of updates from individuals a user chooses to connect with.

These status updates are expected to eventually include content shared by a users' Google contacts through other Google properties, such as YouTube and Picasa.

Presently, Gmail users can only post a brief message about their status through its Chat system, which is linked to Gmail.

Last year, Yahoo too added a similar feature to its mail allowing users to see if their friends have uploaded a photo or put a new staus message.

Gmail has been trying to integrate social features in various ways. Google users can chat via Jabber or AIM, make video calls, and send SMS messages from Gmail's web interface.

A report in Financial Times says that Google will soon be holding a press conference at its Mountain View, California, office to show off the new features.

Google is still far and away the No. 1 most-visited website, with 173 million US visitors in December, according to measurement service ComScore Media Metrix, up 16% from the previous December. But Facebook is close behind. The social network was the fourth-most-visited site in December, with 111.8 million visitors, up 105% from the prior year.