MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Taking more than just a page from of its fast growing social networking rivals, Google ( GOOG) plans to turn Gmail into a friendly connection hub that could serve to undercut the appeal of Twitter and Facebook as those shops head to Wall Street.Google is expected to unveil new features on Gmail that will give users the ability to share status updates and info with friends, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The move not only marks Google's first direct attack on Twitter and Facebook's networking enterprise, but it also comes just days after Facebook introduced email as part of its site revamp.
Google's efforts in social networking haven't always paid off. Google Chat, an instant messaging feature, hasn't been compelling, at least not compelling enough to make a dent in AOL's ( AOL) IM. And Orkit, Google's own six-year-old social networking service, has had limited success overseas, but nearly no recognition stateside. While Google tries to stay apace with Twitter and Facebook, Wall Street eagerly searches for the next Google. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York Follow our tech coverage on Twitter and become a fan of TheStreet.com on Facebook.