Google testing link between Gmail and search

The company is running a limited 'field trial' of a feature that includes links to users' Gmail messages in their search results

Google has begun testing a search feature that mines relevant emails from users' Gmail accounts and displays links to them in the results page.

To use the feature, users would need to be logged in to their Google account and the Gmail results would be visible only to them.

The feature is an attempt by Google to make its search results "truly universal," because answers to certain queries may be contained in users' Gmail messages, the company said on Wednesday.

"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," Amit Singhal, senior vice president of search at Google, wrote in a blog post.

Google already offers signed-in users the option to mesh personal results with links to public Web pages, an initiative it calls Search Plus Your World.

People who allow Google to personalize their search results see, for example, relevant posts authored by their Google+ contacts, photos from their Picasa albums and links from their Reader syndicated feed manager. If users also let Google log their Web usage via the Web History feature, that data is also used to tailor search results.

Search results that are personalized in this manner carry a special icon identifying them as such. No one else but the signed-in user sees them.

It will be interesting to see what reception this Gmail search feature receives when and if it's made widely available. Privacy has been a concern on and off for Gmail since it was launched back in 2004. At the time, many criticized Google's decision to run text ads in the service based on the content of messages.

Years later, Gmail was at the center of one of the company's worst privacy fiascos, when the now-closed Buzz social network by default and without permission generated a public list of initial contacts for users based on their Gmail contacts.

For now, the new search feature is in limited testing. Those interested can apply to participate in the field trial by going to this page: https://www.google.com/experimental/gmailfieldtrial.

In Wednesday's blog post, Singhal also said that Google soon plans to extend its voice search feature, now available in Android, to iPhones and iPads running iOS 4.2 and above.

He also announced that Google is extending its Knowledge Graph database of more than 500 million "real world" people, places and things to English-speaking users outside of the U.S., where it was launched originally in May.

"So starting today, you'll see Knowledge Graph results across every English-speaking country in the world. If you're in Australia and search for 'chiefs', you'll get the rugby team -- its players, results and history," he wrote.

Using the Knowledge Graph, Google has also started creating lists of related items and displaying them across the top of the search results page, according to Singhal.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?