Feb 9, 2010 2:47 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Google is making it easier to socialize on its e-mail service. It's unveiling a new "Google Buzz" feature that sets up a face-off with Facebook.
The feature unveiled Tuesday will enable Gmail users to create status updates on Google Buzz and read and comment on the updates posted by their friends. Other tools turn Gmail into a showcase for sharing video, pictures and Web links to interesting stories, just as users can on Facebook and Twitter.
Gmail's new twists are a direct response to Facebook's rapid rise since it started six years ago. Facebook now has more than 400 million worldwide users, many of whom post information that can't be indexed by Google's search engine.
Facebook's large audience also threatens to siphon away some of Google's advertising sales.