Amit Singhal, SVP of Google Search, announced on Wednesday that the search engine giant is seeking out one million Gmail users to test a new search feature. Essentially Google is wanting to pull related information from the participant's emails, and add that data to search results on the main page.
"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," Singhal writes. "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."
As an example, a user planning a biking trip to Tahoe might see relevant emails from friends about the best bike trails when searching "biking in Tahoe" on Google. The Gmail results will be listed on the right hand side of the results page. If it looks relevant, the user can expand the box to read the associated emails.
"We’re working on some even more useful features," Singhal added. "For example, if you search for [my flights] we will organize flight confirmation emails for any upcoming trips in a beautifully easy-to-read way right on the search results page."
Naturally this doesn't mean the emails will be up for everyone to read - consider it as a private, mini Gmail reader that essentially pulls up data similar to results from scanning email in the actual Gmail client. For now the trial is only accessible on https://www.google.com in English and for @gmail.com addresses (not available on Google Apps accounts).
To sign up for the trial, head here.
However, when I look at my search patterns I rarely look for the same thing on the web and in my emails. It may be of interest to a small percentage of users, but for most it seems like a waste of resources.
Not on purpose, that is.
I'm done with Gmail. I'm tired of Google saving and archiving everything I do online. Based on your search patterns alone, Google knows where you are on any given day, who you bank with, what kind of medical issues you're searching for, problems you have, hobbies, interests, political views, etc.
And consider the data collection center built by the NSA in Utah (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/) and I just don't want to do business with any internet company that stores information about me. There are plenty of companies out there that make it a point not to keep records.