Google Inc. is all set to rival Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. with a new feature that makes it easier for users of Gmail to view media and status updates shared online by their friends according to a report on the Wall Street Journal website.
The report also said that Google could announce the new Gmail feature as soon as this week according to people familiar with the matter. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.
The change adds a module to the Gmail screen that will display a stream of updates from individuals a user chooses to connect with, said one of these people. It is a format popularized by Facebook and Twitter. Yahoo Inc. added a similar feature to Yahoo Mail last year.
Google, too, is trying to get users to turn to Gmail as a place they can go to see what's up with their friends. But whether users will want to blend sending email with browsing friends' content is unclear.
Google's move comes after Facebook last week rolled out a new design with a newmessage inbox that more closely resembles an email inbox like Gmail's.