Google search to include Gmail messages
GOOGLE has started a trial which will allow people to search their Gmail messages from the Google.com search box.
The limited field trial was announced today in San Francisco by Amit Singhal, Google’s search chief, who told The Daily Telegraph that the move was a “baby step towards pre-emptive search” and an example of search engines “getting to know people better”.
He explained the rationale behind the trial on the Google company blog: “Sometimes the best answer to your question isn’t available on the public web--it may be contained somewhere else, such as in your email. We think you shouldn’t have to be your own mini-search engine to find the most useful information--it should just work. A search is a search, and we want our results to be truly universal. So we’re developing a way to find this information for you that’s useful and unobtrusive, and we’d love your feedback.
“So if you’re planning a biking trip to Tahoe, you might see relevant emails from friends about the best bike trails, or great places to eat on the right hand side of the results page. If it looks relevant you can then expand the box to read the emails.”
Gmail results will appear on the right hand side of the search results page and will only be available to the single user whose email account is being included in the results.
Another practical use for the addition of Gmail to search is if a person wants to search for “my flights” – this new tool will allow Google to surface a specific result which says: “upcoming flights from your Gmail” and show the latest timetable.
Singhal said that Google had developed a totally secure and private line which meant there was no risk of a person’s emails from Gmail, ever being seen in anyone else’s search results.
He also defended the option to against the concerns of privacy watchdogs, saying that the addition would enhance the reliability of search.
“Adding Gmail into search goes another step towards search becoming more useful and providing a person with all of the relevant information they need in one place,” Singhal told The Telegraph.
People (including British web users) can sign up to the limited trial, which will be open to one million individuals, via Google.com, from today onwards.
On the Google blog he added: “Larry Page once described the perfect search engine as understanding exactly what you mean and giving you back exactly what you want. It’s very much like the computer I dreamt about as a child growing up in India, glued to our black-and-white TV for every episode of Star Trek. I imagined a future where a starship computer would be able to answer any question I might ask, instantly. Today, we’re closer to that dream than I ever thought possible during my working life.”
Singhal also announced that a new search feature, called the Google Knowledge Graph, would now be extended to the UK and every other English-speaking country in the UK – having launched in the US back in May 2012.
The graph is made up of a database of over 500 million real-world people, places and things which aims to understand people’s search queries (based on other people’s previous search results) and provide some added information in a box on the right hand side of the search results page.
For instance, if someone searches for ‘Notting Hill’, information about both the film and the location in London would appear in the box on the right hand side of the page.
Singhal described the addition of the knowledge graph as a “quantum leap” towards search connecting to real life requests and away from key words.
Google also announced the addition of voice search to its iOS app available on iPad and iPhone.