Google has added search results into its email service, Gmail, as part of its latest innovations to online search within its products that include the expansion of its Knowledge Graph for English language countries.
The search giant aims to provide Gmail users a quicker way to get the most relevant search results regardless of the information’s storage location. That means Google search will be more efficient with search features found on desktops and mobile devices.
According to Google in a blog post, “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.”
Google explained this further through an example where a user plans a biking trip to Lake Tahoe. This user can then search and see on the results emails from friends within his/her own Gmail account that contain information relevant to the query, which in this case are about local places to eat and the best trails for cycling.
Results from Gmail will appear on the right-hand column of the search engine results page (SERP). These previews are expandable by clicking to display the contents of a particular email, whereas standard web search results appear in their normal place.
Google said Gmail search, as a limited trial, currently is only available to English language users with a gmail.com address. When an account is set up, the user will receive a confirmation email. Google Apps users, however, can only sit down and watch.
While Google implemented this move through an opt-in method, instead of a massive rollout to all users, this feature will undoubtedly catch fire from privacy advocates. The risk for security breaches that may lead to sensitive information within emails being shown to other contacts, rather than exclusively for the Gmail account owner, will serve as bait for privacy groups.
Google’s Knowledge Graph, a service that launched in May for US, has now expanded to all English-speaking countries. The user database hosts over 500 million people, locations and entities with 3.5 billion attributes and links between each other.
According to Google, these links allow the company to provide results that are more relevant to its users, especially when searches have several meanings.
Amit Singhal, SVP of Google Search, noted in the blog post, “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.”
Google also uses Knowledge Graph to gather lists, such as ‘hurricanes in 2008′ or ‘famous jazz composers’, and show these results thru pictures all over the top of the page.
Finally, the Google search revamp also includes Voice Search for iOS devices, iPhones and iPads in particular.
So we’ve combined our speech recognition expertise, understanding of language and the Knowledge Graph so that Voice Search can better interpret your questions and sometimes speak the answers back as full sentences. This has been available on Android for a few weeks and people love it. It’ll soon be available on your iPhone or iPad (iOS version 4.2+).
You just need to tap the microphone icon and ask your question, the same way you’d ask a friend. For example, ask ‘What movies are playing this weekend?’ and you’ll see your words streamed back to you quickly as you speak.