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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Google extends online search to email boxes


SAN FRANCISCO — Google has begun allowing users to extend online searches to include messages stored in accounts at Web-based email service Gmail.
"Sometimes the best answer to your question isn't available on the public Web -- it may be contained elsewhere, such as in your email," Google search senior vice president Amit Singhal said in a blog post on Wednesday.
"We think you shouldn't have to be your own mini search engine to find the most useful information; it should just work."
Google invited people to visit google.com/experimental/gmailfieldtrial to sign up to take part in the new feature, which was still taking shape.
"We're developing a way to find this information for you that's useful and unobtrusive, and we'd love your feedback," Singhal said.
The trial was limited to English language searches and messages in Gmail accounts.
Enhancements under development include a feature for organizing air travel confirmation emails so that a query of "my flights" would serve up results that include a concise list of bookings.
"These are baby steps, but important ones on our way to building the search engine of the future," Singhal said.
Those steps include upgrading Google search to look beyond query words to figure out what people are actually seeking online.