Okay, so Google is pushing forward with social search and the integration of Google products to the company's search offering. After plastering Google+ links and banners nearly everywhere, the company is preparing for its next big thing: the integration of Gmail results in Google Search.
A field trial with 1 million users is currently underway that brings Gmail information to Google Search. The idea is the following. If you are logged in, you can use the search engine to not only find web and social results, but also relevant information from other Google products. The information are only available to you, obviously, and appear either directly on top of the search results or on the right sidebar.
One of the examples that Google gave in a service demonstration was that you can enter my flights into Google Search to see all your upcoming flight confirmations from Gmail. Another to see if Amazon packages have already been shipped. Google plans to extend the service in the future, for instance by adding extra information to the results. Say you search for my dinner reservations, and not only get the location and time, but also a reminder when you have to leave if you want to arrive in time at the restaurant.
Some users will certainly appreciate the feature, but I can't see myself using it anytime soon. First, I do know about my flights, orders and reservations and do not need to look them up. And if I do, I either open the email that I have received directly to avoid any issues with data that has been interpreted falsely, or a calendar of sorts that provides me with those information.
What happens if you get a second email with another confirmed departure time? Will Google display the first, the second or both? What if the second email does not get recognized as such because it is in a different format, or a manual email?
Does this work for all flights, airlines and restaurants, or only some? What if I expect the service to display the information, but it does not because the mail landed in spam?
I think there are too many ifs for too little benefit right now. Sure, this may change in the future, but until then, I do hope that Google makes this an optional feature and not one that is automatically activated when you are logged in to your account when you search the web. It could however raise awareness for Google's hunger for data, which is a good thing I guess.
What's your take on the integration of Gmail in Google's web search? Solid idea that is promising, or completely bogus?
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