You Google for restaurants in your town, and the search results include an e-mail to you from a friend about a great new Italian place. That vision of a search engine that sees your Gmail e-mails as well as the Web is now being tested by the technology giant.
Amit Singhai, the company's senior vice president for Google Search, told news media that Google wants to make the search box universal, so that it includes "information that is your information."
A large field test is under way. Information about enrollment is at g.co/searchtrial.
To search Gmail as well as the Web, a user would need to be logged in to the Gmail account at the time of the search. Only that user can see the e-mail search results.
We asked Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, if the Google search-with-e-mail-results could become popular.
He replied that it could, as Google and other search engines move beyond just aggregating results and toward showing "what is more relevant."
Rubin suggested that users might even accept a search engine looking through their e-mail accounts on non-Google providers, such as Yahoo, if they provided usernames and passwords. He pointed out that users are already accustomed to their Facebook accounts having access "to all sorts of information," although he cautioned about the need for clear privacy and security standards.
In a posting Wednesday on Google's Official Blog, Singhai recalled that, growing up in India and watching Star Trek episodes on his black-and-white TV, he "imagined a future where a starship computer would be able to answer any question I might ask, instantly."
Knowledge Graph, Voice Search
He added that today, "we're closer to that dream than I ever thought possible during my working life."
Making your Gmail available to search, Singhai wrote, is one of the steps Google is undertaking in order to bring the Star Trek computer closer to reality. A more elaborate version of this feature, he said, is searching for "my flights," and having confirmation e-mails for coming flights show up, organized by Google in the results page.
Singhai noted several other new search features that have been rolled out. The Knowledge Graph was launched in May. It uses a database of more than 500 million real-world people, places and things, with 3.5 billion attributes and connections linking them. The intelligence helps a user find the right result when there may be more than one meaning to the search term.
"Rio," for instance, could refer to the 2011 movie, one of various hotels, or the major city in Brazil. Knowledge Graph displays a list of the various choices, so the searcher can indicate which one is being sought. This functionality had been available only in the U.S., but is now rolling out to every English-speaking country.
Singhai also pointed out that the company's upgraded Voice Search, which has been available on Android for several weeks, will soon be offered for iOS devices, version 4.2+.
Posted: 2012-08-09 @ 11:49am PT
What a bunch of crap! I will resign from gmail.