Google Going Social…Again? Gmail to Add Streaming Updates

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Google is know for being highly innovative and keeping on top of the technology train. Android brought the opening of the Google online store. Gmail has an on-going experiment that goes by the name of “Gmail Labs”, which you can find hiding in it’s parent, “Google Labs“. You can try out various things for size, such as “mail goggles”  (to prevent you from sending those haphazard emails in the wee hours of the morning) and the capability to have Flickr previews right in your mail. One area that Gmail was lacking in a little was in the social department.

Within Gmail, you had the ability to set your status updates in your chat box, but you couldn’t have a visible stream of what you were doing. For some people this is fine- not everyone wants every part of their day hanging out in the open on the internet, nor do other people necessarily care about what you ate for breakfast or if you noticed a weird odor in your car on the way to work.

A little birdy out there has said that Google is working on employing streaming status updates; you’ll no longer be stuck with one lonely status update that vanishes every time you change it. So what does this mean? First, we’ll start with a basic fact: a large amount of internet users have Gmail as their main email service. This isn’t some obsolete company making a push towards something Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo! Mail have implemented. Second, many companies and websites already use Twitter as a place to throw status updates to engage the consumer and showcase special offers and contests. For companies that may be using Gmail, this could be a great opportunity and a new venue to build their brand. Recently Google implemented streaming real-time updates in their search engine. Items that are being posted on Twitter are being integrated in real-time and showing up in search results

As we all know, Twitter has been allowing those glorious 140 character updates for a few years now. How will allowing status updates on Gmail affect Twitter? With Gmail possibly integrating this closely with YouTube as well as Picasa (Google’s image sharing website), they may possibly be able to become more popular than Twitter in regards to real-time updates.

Google real-time results

I feel as if Google has been planning this for a while. I found it odd that they rolled out real-time search result capabilities without being able to play ball. If they allow these status updates to be public, they can be siphoned down into their real-time search results, along side Twitter updates. In my opinion, it’s about time Google stepped up their game. Being the giant that they are, if they finally combine social networking (tastefully) into all the features they already have, the possibilities are endless.

Google tried to compete with the likes of Facebook and Myspace when it released Orkut. Social networking sites that survive are few and far between; I have a feeling Google will do better by improving what they already have.

This new feature may be rolling out as early as next week, however, Google isn’t releasing much information on it. The Official Gmail Blog is a great place to hear about new updates. Keep checking; Google’s social network take-over has begun!

Selena Narayanasamy
Selena is a "many-hat-wearing" digital strategist, consultant, and President of Orthris. She loves taking ideas from creation to execution, and owns multiple publication websites in... Read Full Bio
Selena Narayanasamy
Selena Narayanasamy

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  • Peter

    Hey, can you clarify one thing…. Do you see it allready in gmail labs? I was looking for it, but can’t really find it… Or why do you speak about gmail labs at the beggining?

  • Selena Narayanasamy

    Hey Peter! I don’t see it in Gmail Labs yet- it’s supposedly being pushed out sometime next week but it’s not confirmed. I mentioned Gmail Labs in the beginning because Google is always trying to stay on the forefront of technology. If you keep up with Gmail Labs in your inbox, you’ll notice that they always have new features or things that are being introduced 🙂

  • Brisbane Web Design

    Hi Selena,
    Great Post! as i was reading this i just noticed that “buzz” has been added into my gmail, just what you were talking about on here i guess all the rumors have finally become a reality.

  • Saurab

    Great Insight. Though I couln’t understand what you mean by saying “Google tried to compete with the likes of Facebook and Myspace when it released Orkut. ”
    Well I dont agree on this as Orkut was officially launched on January 24, 2004 by Google as an independent project of Orkut Büyükkökten , while Facebook was launched much later on October 2006.