Gmail to steal Twitter’s thunder?

Google is reportedly set to offer Twitter-like status updates in Gmail, in a bid to boost its social-networking credentials.

Gmail to steal Twitter's thunder?

The Wall Street Journal claims the company will rollout the new feature this week, with Google hoping to make Gmail a central communications hub.

Gmail already offers the option to alter your status, but the new feature will expand this into a stream of status updates. Users will also be encouraged to share photo and video links via the service, mimicking the features found in Twitter and Facebook.

It’s not clear whether Google will allow users to view their Twitter and Facebook feeds from within Gmail, or whether this will be an entirely separate system.

Google has a patchy record when it comes to social networking. The search giant bought Twitter rival Jaiku in October 2007, but mothballed the little-used service last year, allowing volunteers to keep the site going. Its homegrown Orkut service also failed to take off outside of South America.

The company is now pinning its hopes on Google Wave, an amalgam of email, social networking and blogging rolled into a single web interface. However, reaction to the Wave beta has been muted, and this latest move suggests Google might gently ease some of Wave’s features into Gmail rather than risk confusion by launching the two services side by side.

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