Gmail Labs: Google Search Experiment Just Got Better
Article by George Norman
On 03 Feb 2010
In his 20% time – the one day per week when Google let’s its engineer work on projects that aren’t in the job description – Google Software Engineer Adam de Boor came up with an interesting Gmail Labs experiment. Called “Google Search” this experiment does one simple task – it displays Google search results inside the Gmail window and lets you use those search results when writing an email.

Turn the “Google Search” Labs experiment on and you will see a new search box appear in the left hand side of the inbox. When you type in a query, a new window will appear - similar to chat windows, just slightly larger. This window displays the Google search results related to your query.


“You can click on a search result and it'll open up in another window (or another tab) so you can make sure it's what you're looking for. Once you're sure it's a result you need, moving your mouse over the result back in Gmail reveals a pull-down menu that lets you do stuff with the search result,” said de Boor at the time. By “stuff” he meant you can send by chat; reply with result; send by email.

Adam de Boor has now announced that he’s improved the “Google Search” Labs experiment. The following bits and pieces have changed:
- Using the keyword “define” will bring up the definition of a word. For example “define scareware” will bring up the definition of the word “scareware”.
- Using the keyword “weather” will display the current meteorological conditions for a particular location. You can type in “weather” followed by the name of a city, or the zip code of a location.
- Google’s spell checking software will automatically prompt you when you mistype something.
- Type in an arithmetic expression and you'll get the result.
- You can search for a particular place or for things near a particular place.
- If your query matches something in the news, you will be shown one hit and a link showing how many more related articles there are.
- The “Google Search” Labs experiment provides he same language support as Gmail. This means you can use it in any of the languages Gmail provides support for.
- A search button has been added to the toolbar you see when composing an email.

Tags: Google, Gmail, Gmail Labs, Google Search
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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