Gmail, Google, Social Networking

Gmail’s new people widget might be the latest step in Google’s plan to build a social network

Gmail is introducing a new ‘people widget’ feature that adds contextual information about people you’re emailing. The widget will show a summary of your relationship to that person, as well as information about group events and documents that the person has put online. If that sounds a little bit like Google Buzz, well, you might be right.

While people wait for Google to make some huge announcement about a new social network to rival Facebook, I think it’s pretty clear that Google is being more subtle and is slowly introduced social networking features to existing services like Gmail, Google Maps and even the core search engine. By reverse-engineering a social network in this way, Google is slowly tightening the connections between its users.

This is probably the best approach for Google. Announcing a social network and inviting people to join is a laborious task that invites failure. However, Google is effectively mimicking a social network more and more, while not using that particular label. Facebook might find itself being left behind before it realises what is really happening.


About Michael R. Gideon

Writer, teacher, dog walker, guitarist, husband, father, reader, journalist etc. I mainly write at 100gf | Politics and Computers, but occasionally at other sites such as TV Vomit and Indie Bookspot. My Google Plus profile.


One thought on “Gmail’s new people widget might be the latest step in Google’s plan to build a social network

  1. Interesting article! It is no doubt that Google is the leading Search Engine. I prefer Google over any other – I get better results. Facebook is the best Social Network. I like them both the best for what they do. I think they should keep things the way they are……

    Posted by Nicole Griffin Eakin | May 30, 2011, 3:54 am

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