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Gmail adds documents search

Documents have nowhere to hide
Thu Aug 19 2010, 13:45

LIFE IS FULL of minor frustrations, but thankfully Google has decided to ease one.

Anyone who uses the firm's Gmail mail client and its Documents word processing application will now be able to use the former to search both.

Google has added a new Labs feature to Gmail, Apps Search, which lets Gmail subscribers use it to delve into emails, documents and web results. Pretty handy if you are a time-pressed business user that rushes around with a phone in one hand and a sandwich in the other.

In a blog announcing the release, Google software engineer Bram Moolenaar explained that Apps Search will cut down the time needed to find documents while also making the process simpler.

"Where is that presentation? Was it attached to an email? Or in Google Docs? If you're not sure, you may end up searching several places with the same query in order to find it," he wrote. "With the new 'Apps Search' lab, we just made that all a bit simpler."

And simpler it is. The feature has to be enabled, which we have done, and that switches the 'Search Mail' button for a new 'Search Mail and Docs' button. We tried it, and it works. Search results split the screen view between email results and document results, along with websites.

Of course it is only a Labs feature and Moolenaar said that users might experience some differences in the way that results are returned. "You may notice that mail results show up just as fast as before while non-mail results may take a tiny bit longer," he explained, before suggesting that users tailor the feature to their own particular needs. He added, "if you're just looking for an email, having this lab enabled won't slow you down."

With Ofcom announcing today that Brits spend seven hours of their waking day connected to the Internet, any such time-saving measures are to be applauded.

Apps Search can be enabled via your Gmail settings, and is found under the Labs tab. µ



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