Hugh Pickens writes "Google is set to make a fresh attempt to gain a foothold in the booming social networking business, seeking to counter the growing threat that Facebook poses to some of its core services. USA Today reports that the search giant is upgrading Gmail to add social-media tools similar to those found on Facebook, including photo and video sharing within the Gmail application, along with a new tool for status updates. According to reports, Google is planning to give Gmail users a way to aggregate the updates of their various contacts on the service, creating a stream of notifications that would echo the similar real-time streams from Facebook and Twitter. Google's decision to exploit the heavily-used Gmail service as the basis for its latest assault on the social networking business partly reflects the failure of Google's previous stand-alone efforts to enter the social networking sector. Its Orkut networking service, though launched before Facebook, has failed to gain a mass following in most parts of the world, despite success in Brazil, and its acquisition of Twitter rival Jaiku ended in failure after it scrapped development of the service." Update: 02/09 19:32 GMT by KD : It's been announced as Google Buzz; CNET has a detailed writeup.