Google Buzz hasn't proven the Facebook killer many were quick to label it before launch. But the company is sticking with it and it may be giving it even more screen space inside Gmail, in the right sidebar, as some testers have found.
Google is apparently experimenting with integrating Google Buzz notifications in the right sidebar, where text ads normally reside, according to the unofficial Google Operating System blog.
Users would be able to see the most recent Buzz updates from the ones involved in the email conversation they are currently viewing.
The feature is now available to Google Trusted Testers, but has been leaked via the Chinese google.org.cn, a site not affiliated with the company.
This may not seem like much, but it could significantly drive engagement and get the ones who haven't tried it yet, maybe interested in Buzz.
Gmail is by far Google's most popular app and the third largest email service in the world. If Google can convince a significant number of users to try out Buzz and get involved, it may have a winner yet.
So far, Buzz is said to have several million users, not too shabby for a service its kind, but certainly not on a scale to compete with Twitter or Facebook and not on the scale Google clearly wanted.
The new feature Google is testing may also have a connection to Google Me, the social networking "layer" the company is building into its products.
Google has said that it wants to bring social interaction to all of its services and apps. Initially, Google Me was rumored to be Google's answer to Facebook, a full-blown social network.
But, more recently, Google has said that it's not a dedicated product, rather social features woven together. Whatever the case, Buzz is sure to play a role in this and the new sidebar may be one way Google is trying to add to Gmail, arguably its most social product already, social features on par with what other sites are doing now.