Google has a very mixed history with attempting to make its services more social, but if the company was to integrate directly into its popular Gmail service, would that help things along?

Google may be the master of Web searches, and popular with the e-mail crowd, but one thing it has never mastered is social media.  How many of you are even familiar with its full-fledged social network, Orkut?   It’s been around since 2004, but over 80 percent of its traffic come from Brazil and India, it has failed miserably just about everywhere else.  What about Latitude?  It’s still around, and you can see which friends and family are near you, but it is like the forgotten child of the Google family of services.

Even with its failures to get anything serious going with social media, that doesn’t mean that Google won’t keep trying, and according to The Wall Street Journal, the company is about to try it again, but this time it will be part of Gmail.  Following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter, the new feature is said to be a status update system that will allow you to update your status for selected friends to see, and they will be able to do likewise.  You will also be able to view a timeline of their status updates, ala Twitter.

The question is if people will use it, but it probably has a higher probability of use due to the fact people leave their Gmail accounts open all day long in a browser tab.  You won’t have to go to a special page to interact with it, and that could be a key to getting more people to use it.  Will it draw in new users?  Unlikely, because if all they are looking for is that kind of interactivity, then they will go to a site that specializes in it.

It might be a fun distraction, but I doubt you will ever see this supplanting Facebook and Twitter as the kings of status updates.

Categories: Google   
 

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