Google has unveiled its latest search innovation – adding Gmail messages into search results.
The move is designed to offer Gmail users quick access to the most relevant search results, wherever they happen to be stored, bringing a Google search more in line with the search functionality of a desktop PC or mobile device.
“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,” Google noted on its blog.
“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.”
Google gave the example of a user planning a bike trip to Tahoe, who would see emails from their friends containing information about the best cycling trails or local places to eat as part of the search results. These results would appear on the right-hand column of the search page, and could be expanded to show the whole email message, with standard search results appearing in the normal place.
At present, Google said Gmail search is only available as a limited trial, for English language users with a gmail.com address. Google Apps users cannot participate. Users will receive email confirmation once their account is ready.
We contacted Google for confirmation on the timeframe for the rollout, and also to check if this is limited to certain territories, but have yet to receive that information.
Google also today expanded its Knowledge Graph to all English-speaking countries. Launched in May for US users, the database hosts more than 500 million people, places and things with 3.5 billion attributes and connections between them.
These connections let Google return more relevant results to users, when searches have different meanings.
“For example, if you search for 'rio', you might be interested in the Brazilian city, the recent animated movie or the casino in Vegas. Thanks to the Knowledge Graph, we can now give you these different suggestions of real-world entities in the search box as you type,” noted Amit Singhal, SVP Google Search, on the blog post.
Google is also using its Knowledge Graph to pull together lists, like 'hurricanes in 2008' or 'famous jazz composers', and display these results via images across the top of the page.