Google to Add Social Feature to Gmail

Google Inc. (GOOG) is set to unveil a new feature to Gmail designed to make it easier and faster for users to share media and status updates with friends, according to people familiar with the matter.

These people said Google could launch the new feature, which aims to make its Gmail email application more social, as soon as this week.

The change is a new module that will allow Gmail users to view a stream of status updates from people they choose to connect with, according to one of these people.

Currently, Gmail has a chat bar that can display a short “away message” for each user’s contacts. But the new interface will have an area that users can click through to see updates from more friends in a stream–a format popularized by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., these people said.

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