August 19, 2010

Google Releases Universal Search for Gmail, Docs and Sites

Ever wanted to search not only your e-mail, but your presentations, spreadsheets and documents? Google  is working on an experimental project to do just that.

Google Apps Search is a new Gmail Labs feature that “extends search with Google Docs and Sites results,” according to the feature’s description. When you activate it, the “Search Mail” button changes to “Search Mail and Docs.” Now whenever you perform a search through your Gmail , it will not only display the 20 most recent e-mails with that query, but will also show 20 related Google Docs  or Sites as well. These are displayed below the Gmail search results.

In addition to universal search functionality, Apps Search also includes a second feature: “Did you mean?” search suggestions. Whenever your queries contain typos, Google will provide a suggestion for the search it believes you meant to perform, just like Google Search does.

Combined with the “Search the Web” button that sits directly to the right of the “Search Mail and Docs” button, Gmail is quickly becoming a central location for performing all of your searches. Many Google Docs are related to e-mail threads; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched my e-mail just to get to a Google Doc. It’s nice to see a Labs feature address this problem.

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