Being a big fan of Google Desktop in the day, I had mixed feelings about Google deciding to incorporate Gmail results in search. The capability to search through my Outlook mail was a livesaver for me in many of my previous jobs. Since I use Gmail exclusively as an email client now, I can perform the same task (even faster) through the Gmail program. I felt a sense of anticipation for a cool product mixed with the realization that I have no need whatsoever for it (some people might call that iPhone 5 syndrome).
I signed up for the “field trial” (the link is below) and after less than a day I got a message saying I was set-up and ready to go.
I went to Google, and typed in my wife’s name (assuming that I would get a good quantity of email results). What happened next awed me with underwhelm. The SERP populated, and in the upper right corner it said:
Messages from Facebook, jennifer dougherty, and Jennifer Dougherty (YouMail)
That’s it. Click the plus and you get five results, click again and you go directly to Gmail where you could have performed the same search with two or three less clicks. Very underwhelming.
A nice feature that it adds is contact information (taken from your address book and Google Plus). I can see how that might be informative to some degree. The entirety of the package is so benign I wonder why they took the time to field test it at all.
The one thing I’m glad that they didn’t do is something over the top like Bing did by letting users share searches on their social network. I’ve been struggling to come up with any reasonable use for that. Maybe you share a search for an anatomical part when someone’s really upsetting you? So maybe the best thing that can be said about putting Gmail results in search is that it may have some utility for somebody.
So my two cents: putting Gmail results in search is not entirely useless. But it’s mostly useless.
To sign up for the “field trial” that will make you one of the first (one million) users to get Gmail results in search click here.