WASHINGTON?Google plans to make it easier for users of Gmail to view online status updates from friends in a swipe at Twitter and Facebook, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper, citing "people familiar with the matter," said the Internet giant could announce the new feature for its popular email service as soon as this week.
It involves adding a module to the Gmail screen that will display a stream of updates from individuals a user chooses to connect with, the Journal said.
The newspaper noted that Yahoo! added a similar feature to its email program, Yahoo Mail, last year, allowing users to see whether friends have uploaded a photo to a photo-sharing site such as Flickr.
The new stream will eventually include content that a user's connections share through Google-owned YouTube or the Picasa photo service, the Journal said, although whether those features will be announced remains unclear.
The Journal noted that Google's move comes after Facebook last week rolled out a new design with a new message inbox that more closely resembles an email inbox like Gmail's.
Facebook boasts some 400 million users while Gmail had 176 million unique visitors in December, according to tracking firm comScore.