Uh-oh. As if the recent Google Reader fiasco wasn’t enough (still unresolved, by the way), some speculation from Google Operating System suggests that Google will be adding an activity feature to Gmail, similar to Facebook’s news feed. Now, at least Google doesn’t have something like Beacon (yet), but it’s still annoying that they keep doing these things. I really hope they don’t add this feature, because I’m still waiting for them to add an “Off” switch to the Google Reader sharing function.
Really, who needs updates from friends in Gmail? As I mentioned before, we have perfectly good services like FriendFeed to keep track of Web activity from our friends. Sure, they have to opt-in, but it’s better than automatically spamming people with updates from everyone they’ve ever emailed (even once). Unrequested sharing of items in Reader is annoying. Updates from other Google services would be worse.
I’ve already had the Web Clips bar disabled for over a year now; reading feeds in Gmail is not something I want to do (Reader’s better), and putting things from my contacts in that chat box (which you can’t hide anymore, by the way) won’t improve the interface. Imagine if they make it so you can’t turn off the Web Clips bar because they change their mind and put the updates in it. Then there’s wasted space at the top of the screen.
Google, if you’re reading this, please stop trying to turn your services into social networks. You do what you’ve released very well, but there are plenty of other social networks out there. We don’t need another one. Especially if it intrudes on our other activities.