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Google Looks To Integrate Gmail Activities Into Search Results

December 21, 2012
Image Credit: OneO2 / Shutterstock

Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Google is in the process of testing Gmail integration with search results. Since it was first announced last August, when Google debuted basic Gmail integration that included email, Google Drive docs and flights, the search giant has continued to refine it. Now Google has updated its field trial so users can do a Google search, but look for such very specific information, such as “my reservations” or “my purchases” to find the relevant information.

“To build the search engine I dream of, we need to make it truly universal,” Google´s search engine chief Amit Singhal told Venture Beat. “So you can do things that are not possible today.”

Users must be logged into their Google account and from the main Google Search page can perform those specific searches. What you get will, of course, vary on what you search for, and how you searched.

It could include searching for receipts from an online merchant, which could be done by searching “my purchases”. But this could also be integrated further with special search queries, with retailers or other online partners connected.

In this case “my hotel reservation” would be tagged to a specific hotel — providing again the information such as a confirmation email that was sent from the hotel to the user´s Gmail account.

So why is Google doing this? The reason could be to ensure competitors such as Bing have less of a chance to nibble away at Google´s dominance.

“Any time that they add some useful element it helps reinforce the perception of Google, and why would you use something else,” said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Research. “Google is making changes all the time.”

How important this one is has yet to be seen.

“This is a relatively minor,” Sterling told redOrbit. “It´s a return of this desktop capability. It´s a useful tweak, but it´s relatively minor. Trying to make the search box more useful, keep people more engaged with it, and increase the usefulness.”

“Google will absolutely use every bit of data that it can to inform its product development, and where legally permissible to deploy behavioral targeting,” Sterling added.

In addition to being deployed across desktops, this user-specific search will also be available on mobile devices, provided the user has the SSL option turned on by default. It will be compatible with iOS 6 devices from the search box and even on the home screen of Android JellyBean devices.

But is there something missing from the reports?

“It´s a better story that´s not being told,” said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, Inc. “Google is very cloud oriented.”

Does this mean Google could also blur the line in regards to privacy? That is possible, as Google Now could learn a user´s habits and then warn them about traffic delays, as it could know the route the user takes to work, or it could automatically track packages.

It may be one thing to have to ask where a package is and another to have Google track it without being asked. But with search it could be hard to know when the line is being crossed. Perhaps we can ask Google?


Source: Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online



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