In a bid to provide even more personalization to web search results, Google is blending its Internet search engine with its popular Gmail service.
The feature was unveiled Wednesday and effectively allows the search engine to pull data from correspondence stored in a user’s Gmail account to use to supplement any data in a search request.
The Gmail results will be shown to the right of the main results on the search page, although some cases will display an answer taken from an email at the top of the page. If a user searched for information about a particular restaurant, for instance, relevant email conversations could appear as search results to further “personalize” the experience.
Users must sign up to participate in this experiment and Google is hoping to include enough safeguards to prevent any privacy concerns from coming to fruition. Right now, the service operates in a collapsible format that users must sign in to in order to check out.
The new feature will be available to an initial run of one million Gmail users. There are some 425 Gmail users in total, so Google is going for a pretty miniscule sample size. The plan is to test user reactions and then branch the feature out from there.
In the near future, Google says that it may include information from other email programs – a move designed to head off criticism of exclusion at the pass. Microsoft said that it has no plans of including its email service in Google’s plans, though, and Yahoo had no comment. The transition may not go as smoothly as Google would hope.
Despite owning the market in Internet searching, Google has been a bit paranoid about its place atop the mountain. Social networking has eroded their supremacy somewhat, as a more human approach has replaced the keywords, links and snippets of code that once roamed the World Wide Web.
For Google, advertising generates the majority of its revenue. By lumping individual user information in with search results, the search engine giant has the potential to generate more search results and, as a result, more ads. Google Plus results have already been integrated in the main search results since January.