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Gmail to get realtime with Web2.0rhea makeover?

Plans to turn email service into Twitter, Facebook wannabe

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Google is reportedly readying social networking features for Gmail in an effort to imitate Web2.0rhea vanguards Facebook and Twitter.

Pushing aside Google Wave, which Mountain View is apparently beavering away at separately, the firm plans to slot a stream of status updates from online chums directly into Gmail.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company might announce the interface tweak as early as this week.

Yahoo! has in fact had a similar feature slotted into its mail system, which claims around 300 million users, since June 2009.

If the report is accurate, Google may be planning to eventually include content shared by users via the ad brokers’ other properties such as the omnipresent YouTube video sharing site and the less popular Picasa photo service.

Google currently offers its 176 million Gmail users the opportunity to update their status within its Chat service, but this effort looks set to reveal more of the outfit’s social networking midriff.

Of course, some might argue that Google is coming extremely late to the party, while purists will grumble that the company should keep Gmail free of Web 2.0 clutter.

But in reality the firm has been working for time at embedding real-time tech into its ad-sponsored online estate. So its decision to finally roll out the red carpet for the arrival of social networking at its door will come as little surprise to most.

Last week Facebook tinkered once again with its interface, making its messaging feature a more central part of an indivdual’s homepage. But inevitably, that move also rankled with some of the outfit’s 400 million users. ®

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