Google Operating System has found code that would suggest that GTalk within Gmail may soon offer friend updates, similar to what is offered by services such as Plaxo.
Some more details pulled from the code:
…these updates will help you learn more about them. Gmail’s code suggests that you’ll be able to delete the updates you don’t like, reply by email or post a comment. It’s not very clear what kind of updates you will receive, but they’re probably the latest important actions of your contacts from different Google services.
Google already offers similar activity updates in services including Picasa Web Albums and Orkut.
The best line in the article, for those wondering what Google’s hidden social networking game plan might be:
The Gmail updates will probably gather all this information, merge it with recent activities from other Google services and display it in a continuous stream, similar to Facebook’s newsfeed.
Update: Erick had details on this December 19. More here.