The next frontier for search? Your inbox.
This week Google announced it would begin allowing Gmail users to see results from old emails alongside traditional search results. Judging by a preview image made available by Google – see above – the traditional results will appear in the center of the screen and the email results on the right rail.
So if you were searching for "dinner in Brooklyn," you might get a list of the top restaurants, alongside an email recommendation from a pal.
"Sometimes the best answer to your question isn’t available on the public web – it may be contained somewhere else, such as in your email. We think you shouldn’t have to be your own mini-search engine to find the most useful information – it should just work," Google engineer Amit Singhal wrote in a blog post this week. "A search is a search, and we want our results to be truly universal."
The feature is part and parcel with the recently introduced Knowledge Graph and Search Plus Your World, which also attempted to expand the purview of the search experience by adding input from the social Web. And there's certainly something to the idea: most of us value the opinions of friends, family, and coworkers just as much as we value the depersonalized results a typical Google search churns out.
For now the Gmail search feature is in "field trial" mode. You can sign up by navigating over to http://g.co/searchtrial. Google has said that it will accept only a million testers, so you better hurry – there are more than 400 million Gmail users in all.