PERSONAL INFORMATION CURATOR GOOGLE has unveiled its latest search innovation - adding Gmail messages into search results.
The move is designed to offer Gmail users quick access to the most relevant search results, wherever they happen to be stored, bringing a Google search more in line with the search functionality of a desktop PC or mobile device.
"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," Google noted on its blog.
"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 gave the example of a user planning a bike trip to Tahoe, who would see emails from their friends containing information about the best cycling trails or local places to eat as part of the search results.
These results would appear on the right-hand column of the search page, and could be expanded to show the whole email message, with standard search results appearing in the normal place.
At present, Google said Gmail search is only available as a limited trial, for English language users with a gmail.com address. Google Apps users cannot participate. Users will receive email confirmation once their account is ready.
Although Google has gone for the opt-in method rather than rolling this out across all its users, this new feature will no doubt set privacy alarm bells ringing about the potential for breaches leading to sensitive email messages being displayed to all contacts rather than just the opted-in user.
We contacted Google for confirmation on the timeframe for the rollout, and also to check if this is limited to certain territories, but have yet to receive that information.