There are several reports today that Google is set to announce a new social feature inside Gmail, allowing users to see (and add to) a stream of status updates from friends and connections.
NOTE: Google Buzz Is Now Live. See our detailed post, Google Buzz: Google Takes On Twitter, Facebook & Even Foursquare.
While Twitter is all abuzz over the news, this is something that Yahoo Mail has offered its 300 million users since last June. Yahoo, in fact, offers status updates across a wide variety of its properties.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google may announce the new feature this week. The paper reports that Google’s new tool “will eventually include content that a user’s connections share through Google’s YouTube video site and Picasa photo service” — which, again, is very similar to how Yahoo’s system automatically updates when a user adds a photo to Flickr or answers a question on Yahoo Answers.
The New York Times describes the Gmail tool as “more vibrant” than what Google already offers through the chat service inside Gmail. With that tool, each new update replaces the one before, leaving no history behind.
Postscript, February 9: We’re liveblogging the official announcement here.