Google Operating System speculates that Gmail will soon display status updates from your contacts:
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.
Ionut says based on reading some Google code that users will be able to delete updates – now word whether there will be a “Big Switch” to opt out globally. The functionality itself would be closer to Facebook’s newsfeed, the reason I am comparing it to Plaxo is that Plaxo became a metaphor for spam in its early years, and it is back at it now, with all the unwanted Plaxo Pulse notifications.
The contact updates, especially if it’s not easy to opt-out once and for all would be nothing but spam. What makes it even worse is that Gmail Contacts are really not contacts: anybody you answer automatically gets added to your Address Book, whether you like it or not. And guess what: there is no way to turn this off. (In fact, in the new version of Gmail -not yet available for Google Apps accounts- you can’t even delete more than 20 contacts at any given time.)
I really hope it does not happen. Gmail is the Crown Jewel of Google services, and as such, more productivity-oriented for most of us, then say Orkut or Picasa are. They can’t seriously think of clobbering the screen with garbage like that. Can they?