Google has expanded its trial that includes results from your Gmail inbox to more users today, as well as your Google Drive account. You can sign up now to have results from your inbox appear as you search while signed in.
Google says people have been liking it so far:
We’ve gotten very positive feedback from those of you testing it out — such as this note: “The Gmail results feature is awesome! The fact that it’s all integrated into one screen is huge.” Many testers have requested being able to find Drive files as well — as one of you put it, “It would be awesome if I could search my google drive from google search as well 🙂”.
If you’re unfamiliar with how this affected your Google search results as a Gmail user, this is what seeing contacts and emails looks like in the interface:
The expanded trial will take on many of the same features as the initial one, offering up results in the Google search box that present email messages, relevant information and, brand new to this trial, results from your Google Drive:
You can try out the new results options in the field trial now, as long as you speak english and have a Gmail.com address. The trial was instituted back in August, when Google Director of Product Management, Universal Search Sagar Kamdar called it part of Google’s ‘Universal Search’, saying that “Gmail is almost larger than our web corpus and it continues to grow.”
Beating your head against the wall trying to find a specific attachment in your overstuffed Gmail inbox? Google just made life easier for you with a newly added keyword search feature for Gmail attachments.
Previously, the popular email client only allowed search within text files, but now users can search within files from several leading programs, such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Powerpoint and more. This comes just a few months after the company announced that personal emails will turn up in your search results.
Several other popular email clients — Yahoo and Outlook included — have had this feature for years. To try this out for yourself, simply add “has:attachment” to the beginning of any keyword query. Limiting the search to a specific file type involves adding “filename:(file type)” to the search term.
For example, if you wanted to look for the name of your favorite tech website in a PDF attachment, you would type: “has:attachment filename:PDF Tecca” into Gmail’s search. That search will then pull up the related content.
Have you tried out Gmail’s latest feature yet? Tell us what you think about it in the comments.
“You’ve got mail” was the catchphrase of the ’90s web. But the popular welcome jingle faded away with pay-per-minute dial-up connections.
“[We} were just joking about the old days of the internet and how we never really got that AOL guy’s voice out of our heads,” says Baker. “Then we just threw the plugin together and realized it was both funny and kind of useful.”
Perhaps this sound was less annoying in the AOL days because we didn’t have smartphones and weren’t getting that much email. Luckily, the extension has a mute feature for those of us who get an email every three minutes.
On Wednesday, Google announced new natural-language voice search on iOS, new, touch-friendly Web interfaces for its answers, and an ambitious, voluntary experiment to bring your Gmail messages into search results. Google wants to be like the Star Trek computer when it grows up, letting us ask questions naturally about anything and get a compelling answer right back. These new features show that Google’s much further along than you might realize.
English-Language Knowledge Graph Everywhere
Starting Thursday, users searching Google in English anywhere in the world will get Knowledge Graph results. Knowledge Graph, which launched in May, is Google’s effort to move away from simple keyword matching and toward a natural-language understanding of terms and concepts. This week U.S. users will also start seeing Knowledge Graph people, place and thing suggestions in auto-suggest and auto-complete while typing their queries.
Knowledge Graph boxes are displayed on the right side of search results and have a two-fold purpose: helping the you (and Google) quickly clarify the query by suggesting related objects and concepts, and helping you explore the relationships between concepts.
Not only does this visual representation of the things in your query help you find what you’re looking for, it helps Google better understand how these things are related.
Carousel: A Touchable List of Answers from Knowledge Graph
There’s also a new carousel view for Knowledge Graph search results. The right sidebar box for Knowledge Graph only shows five related concepts at a time, but now a search for a list of things, like “famous jazz composers,” will produce an illustrated, side-scrolling list of possible answers, which can all be expanded with one tap. It’s a faster and more enjoyable way to dive into search results on the desktop, but it’s also an ideal interface for a tablet.
Gmail Messages in Search Results – A Field Trial
On Wednesday, Google launched a limited field trial of a bold new idea: displaying your Gmail messages in appropriate search results.
That might sound scary, but it’s implemented in a conservative way. It pulls up Gmail messages on the right sidebar if they’re relevant, but the email itself is collapsed. A person over your shoulder won’t be able to read your email unless you click to expand it.
In a publicity event on Wednesday, Sagar Kamdar, director of product management for Universal Search, told reporters, “Gmail is almost the same size as our Web corpus.” Email is a huge store of information that is valuable to users. But for Google to pull email into search results like it does Web results, “Now we need to make it private and secure.”
Collapsing email message views by default is part of that. It’s also controlled by the same toggle switch between personal and global search results as Google+ Search Plus Your World results. Clicking the globe button takes all personal info out of search, and you can permanently disable all personalized search in your Google account settings.
Only if you explicitly tell Google that you’re looking for something of yours, such as by searching for “my flights,” will it show email contents instantly in main search results. It’s all done over SSL, so no one can intercept the information, just like on Gmail itself.
That view of flight info is pretty neat, too. It’s not just about pulling up email messages as search results. Google is actually pulling out the information that’s relevant to you from Gmail and presenting it like a Knowledge Graph answer.
Gmail in search results is a field trial, so you only get it if you want it and sign up for it. You cansign up for the field trial at g.co/searchtrial and see if you like it. It’s not yet available for Google Apps users who have Gmail on their own domains.
Voice Q&A Search In the Google iOS App: What’s A Siri?
The new version of the Google search app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch brings to Apple customers the kind of Knowledge Graph-powered, natural language, question-and-answer search Google showed off in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at Google I/O in June.
This is the most Star Trek of all the announcements; mobile engineering director Scott Huffman bombarded the iPhone with casual questions, and it always instantly nailed the answer, presenting it in a visually attractive and informative format.
Google submitted the app about a week ago. It’s obviously a touchy subject, since Apple’s AI assistant, Siri, is supposed to be the onboard robot that answers people’s questions, and she goes out of her way to avoid using Google to do so. But since Google’s voice search can’t hook in to iOS contacts, phone, messages, reminders, clock or other system-level functions, Siri still has enough advantages that Apple will let Google ship this update.
It’s better than Siri at the Web, though. Let’s get that out of the way. While Siri may improve over time, it just can’t match Google at Web search right now. It can also provide answers any way the Knowledge Graph can, which includes doing math. Siri uses Wolfram Alpha for math and science questions, and the race between Google and Wolfram Alpha will be interesting to watch. But for the casual math and science queries we might ask of our phones, Google is on the ball.
Voice search isn’t the same as Google Now. The predictive suggestions showed off at Google I/O, which send users scheduling reminders from their Google Calendars when searching for a place to eat, for example, are exclusive to Android.
The Destiny of Search
“The destiny of search is to become the Star Trek computer, that perfect, loyal assistant,” SVP of engineering Amit Singhal told the audience in his introduction. We ask questions in natural language, and she answers us.
There are 30 trillion URLs on the Web, Singhal said, and Google crawls 20 billion on the average day. It performs 100 billion searches per month. That represents a staggering amount of information, but it’s a big leap from indexing those Web addresses to actually understanding them. “The next scientific challenge that we face,” Singhal said, “is that we need to understand what’s in that knowledge.”
It’s about more than just organizing the information. If it wants to build the Star Trek computer, Google has to tackle some of the hardest computer science problems there are. It has to master speech recognition, natural language, and, as Singhal said, “We will have to build artificial intelligence. We are clearly not there yet, but we are taking baby steps toward that future.”
The most important change to Google search so far this year was the launch of the Knowledge Graph in May. Google is moving away from simple keyword matching and toward a natural-language understanding of terms and concepts.
By creating a huge database of the things in the world and mapping their relationships, Google is building a way to relate the queries we ask of it to the actual concepts we’re talking about, modeling our language much like we do when speaking to one another. As Knowledge Graph lead PM Emily Moxley put it to ReadWriteWeb in July, “It’s about mapping the real world into something that computers can understand.”
There are 500 million things mapped in the knowledge graph, and 3.5 billion relationships between those things. But Singhal admits, “This is still a baby step towards understanding this world like you or I do.”
“Truly universal search will have information available on the Web and information that’s your information,” Singhal said. Building on Google’s Universal Search, the idea that images, maps, videos and Web pages can all results of the same kinds of searches, it’s time for Google to start bringing users’ own information into the results as well.
The updates announced on Wednesday bring that knowledge to bear in new interfaces designed to make searching Google faster, more natural, and more comprehensive, all while remaining considerate of users’ privacy and devices of choice.
Mat Honan’s account of an “epic hacking” attack is fascinating, frightening and instructive. You should read it. Here are some other things you should do, in ascending order of urgency:
- Read the story of what happened to my wife when six years’ worth of email — and associated photos, research notes, book drafts, calendar info, contacts, attached-file data, memorabilia, etc — were all zeroed out by a hacker, who was using the “Mugged in Madrid” scam and was probably operating from West Africa.
- Look into the wide variety of ways to make local, non-cloud copies of your important online information. I won’t get into all the details now, but for instance: You can use Thunderbird, Eudora, Outlook, Sparrow or some other system for periodic backups of your email and associated online files. (And then of course have some other way to back up what’s on your local hard drive.)
- Make sure that each of your important online accounts — bank, credit card, email, anything that could cause you grief if someone else got control of it — has (a) its own password, which (b) you have never used anywhere else. I rely on some mnemonic tricks, plus LastPass, to make this feasible — more on that another time.
- If you use Gmail, please, before you get up from this session at the computer, turn on the “2-step verification” that Google has offered, for free, since early last year. OK, you are allowed to get up if you don’t have your cell phone/smartphone at hand, because you’ll need that for the 2-step setup. You can read official instructions here and will find lots of associated advice around the Internet. Here is one installment I offered after my wife’s hacking episode last year.
In case there’s any doubt about the priority order I am suggesting, my advice is: First, if you use Gmail, set up the 2-step system; then fix any “recycled” password you’re using for accounts you care about protecting; thenthink about the offline backups etc.
Using the 2-step system is slightly less convenient than doing without it. For instance, every 30 days you will need to enter a special code into your desktop or laptop computers. And you’ll have the one-time chore of generating “application specific passwords” for your iPad, smartphone and some mail-handling programs.
Similarly, it is less convenient to carry keys around and have to lock and unlock your front door rather than just leaving it open. But believe me, the “inconvenience” resulting from leaving the door open can be worse, in the digital realm and the physical world alike.
- Why the Man Who Invented the Web Isn’t Rich
- A Stunning High-Resolution Photo of Curiosity’s Heat Shield Plummeting to the Martian Surface
- We Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s New Article on Social Media Ethics
- NASA’s Rover Captures Gorgeous Panoramic View of the Martian Landscape
This article originally published at The Atlantic here.
For example, if you search Google for “amazon,” you’ll see the standard web results with links to Amazon and the Wikipedia page for the Amazon River, but it’ll also display your receipts and shipping notifications from Amazon.com in your Gmail inbox.
The Gmail results appear out of the way in the right side of your search results window. The new feature also includes more detailed information on flights.
The service is only in testing now, so Google isn’t forcing to use it yet.
But if you want to opt in and turn this service on, head here
Google’s Gmail app for iOS has been docked by some potential adopters for feeling like a poor cousin to other native apps. It may be worth revisiting: the 1.3 update has just arrived with a much-requested ability to save common image attachments to an iOS device’s photo collection. Should that not be enough, Google has smoothed out animations and scrolling for iPhone and iPod touch owners. The new version has pushed live for everyone, leaving just a quick download between us and saving our parents’ vacation photos for posterity.
Google announced today that its Gmail service has 425 million monthly active users. That means it has blown past Hotmail for the first time, becoming the largest email service in the world.
For many years, Microsoft’s Hotmail has been the reigning champ among global email services. In July, 2011 Hotmail announced on its 15-year anniversary that it had 360 million unique users per month. Yahoo Mail used to be the clear No. 1, but it has seen customers defect to both Hotmail and Gmail. And finally Google’s much-younger service (Gmail’s invite-only beta release was in 2004) has caught up to its older rivals.
Gmail’s growth has been absolutely stunning. In January, the company said on an earnings call that it had 350 million monthly active users on Gmail, based on its own internal data. Today that number sits at 425 million monthly actives, again based on its own data with no third-party confirmation.
Web analytics company comScore, on the other hand, told us that Google has way less unique visitors and still gives the edge to Hotmail and Yahoo. ComScore’s latest numbers from May have Hotmail at No. 1 with 325 million unique visitors, Yahoo at No. 2 with298 million users, and Gmail at No. 3 with 289 million users.
We contacted representatives for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and comScore to try to reconcile the numbers. Each company, in some way, provided a frustrating response.
ComScore VP Andrew Lipsman told us that the company’s data was based on global unique visitors from “home and business use,” which leaves out important things like smartphone and Internet cafe access. “There are going to be some users that are left out,” Lipsman acknowledged.
Both Yahoo and Microsoft directed us to the above comScore data as their metric for active users. We asked Microsoft and Yahoo to get more specific with their own internal numbers, but both declined and again pointed us to the latest comScore data.
When I asked a Google spokesperson why its internal numbers showed a discrepancy ofmore than 100 million users compared with comScore’s data, he told us that the company doesn’t comment on third-party numbers.
Using Gmail’s “internal numbers” to compare against Yahoo and Microsoft’s comScore data may not be truly fair, but these are the numbers each of the companies stand by. Therefore, these are the numbers we will use to proclaim Gmail as the number one e-mail client in all the lands.
Long live King Gmail! Until Microsoft and Yahoo cough up better stats, that is.
It took quite awhile for the official Gmail app to arrive for our Apple-toting friends, but when it debuted, it lacked many features enjoyed by Android users. Well, today the iOS Gmail app got a refresh that brings it a bit closer to the green bot version. Chiefly, notification support to allow folks to set up banner alerts and lock screen notifications, so they no longer have to check their inbox for new messages. Not only that, the app now has persistent login capability, meaning no more re-entry of your Gmail credentials every time you’re preoccupied slaying space pigs for a few hours. Interested parties can hit the source link to get the new goodies.
Your Gmail inbox is taking over your life. At least, that’s probably how it feels sometimes. Waking up to an inbox filled with a few dozen unread messages makes you want to close the browser in defeat.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Filters are some of the most powerful Gmail tools, serving to keep less important email out of your face, and allowing the cream to rise to the top.
To access these tools, look for the gear icon in the top-right corner of your Gmail. In that dropdown, click “Settings,” then the “Filters” link at the top of the next page. This page shows you any existing filters, then invites you to “Create a New Filter.”
While some of the filters are very straightforward, below you’ll see several tips and tricks to on how to filter your messages like a pro.
1. Automated Emails Marked as Read
Scenario: You constantly check your inbox after seeing that number of unread messages tick upward, only to be disappointed by mundane content, like automated emails about your UPS package status. This is a good time to set up a “Mark as Read” filter for stuff you want to hold on to, but don’t necessarily need to read.
Set a whole domain name in your filters to follow this rule, or just one specific address, like firstname.lastname@example.org, the Amazon shipment confirmation address.
2. Auto Archiving
When you archive emails in Gmail, they are removed from your inbox, but are still stored in your Gmail account if you need search for them later. This is a good solution for those who never want to delete emails, but still want to feel like they have control over the amount of content in their inboxes.
Simply create a filter to automatically archive emails from a certain sender or email send to a specific email address, for stuff you want to keep but don’t need to see.
3. No Folders
It’s important to note one shortcoming of Gmail’s filters: lack of folder support. While you can have folders that remove stuff from your general Inbox, Gmail does not do this automatically. This is something those who use a traditional desktop email client like Outlook will certainly miss. The best option is to use labels, in those situations.
4. Multiple Senders
Filters can also work for multiple senders, if you have a list of certain people you want to designate with one label. Simply set up the filter as “email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org,” and continue from there.
5. Filters Work Inside Your Inbox
If clutter is a problem, you can also apply all these handy filters to messages already in your inbox. Once you enter the filter search term, check the box that says “Apply this filter to X # of messages already in your inbox.”
6. The Power of the Plus Sign
In a previous post, I explained that dot placement in Gmail is purely for aesthetic purposes, but it’s important to know that other characters can be parsed differently. Take the plus sign: Google ignores all text after it and still directs messages to the correct address. That means it can be a powerful tool for filtering.
Say you want to sign up for a social network or need to register your email address to receive a coupon, but you don’t want to receive associated emails or notifications from those sites. Add a plus sign to your email and those messages will skip your inbox altogether. For example, Justin.Bieber+Rabid.Fans@gmail.com orBiz.Stone+Twitter@gmail.com would still be delivered to the correct email addresses, but can be sorted, labeled or even trashed before they arrive in your inbox.
Think about that next time you fill in a form that requires your email, or when you post a contact email on your website. You can then select if you want these emails automatically archived, deleted, marked as important or unimportant.
7. Pre-Labeling With Colored Labels
If you need a visual representation of different types of messages in your inbox, you can set up labels with many different color schemes. You can then assign anything that comes into your inbox, from a specific sender to a specific version of email. Some helpful label ideas are “shopping,” “follow up,” “bills,” or anything you want to sort visually.
8. Super Stars
You can also add stars to your filtered messages, so they’ll automatically show up as important if they contain any of your search criteria. Unfortunately, while Gmail has added several different searchable star designs, it doesn’t allow you to add a specific type of star to your message.
See any filtering tips we missed? Let us know in the comments.