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Google enhances search, to pull info from users' Gmail

13 Aug, 2012

Google has been making quite a few enhancements to its search in recent times. Only last month, it has added a scientific calculator to its search engine that pops up the moment you type in the word 'calculator' or a math problem. It has also introduced a 'Handwrite' feature that allows users to search for information on their mobiles and tablets by simply writing the letters with their fingers.

The search giant has now unveiled a number of new additions to its search, the most important being the integration of search with a user's Gmail account/s. Here's a quick look at the new features:

Getting information from Gmail: With this feature, Google will automatically pull relevant information from users' Gmail accounts and add that to the search results. For instance, if you search for a trip to Goa, you might see relevant e-mail messages from friends about the best beaches, places to visit or great eateries – on the right of the results page. Users can then expand the box to read those messages.

The search giant is also working on some additional features. For example, if you search for 'my flights,' Google will feature flight confirmation e-mail for any upcoming trip on the search results page itself.

However, in order to get information delivered from Gmail accounts on to the search results page, users will have to sign up for a limited trial. Note that the feature is only accessible on https://www.google.com (in English) and @gmail.com addresses (not available on Google Apps accounts).

Knowledge Graph: The search giant also launched the Knowledge Graph (Google's database of 500 million-plus real-world people, places and things) in mid-May this year. But at that time, it was available only in the US. Now, users across every English-speaking country will be able to view Knowledge Graph results.

For example, if you search for Taj Mahal, you will get results ranging from the seventh wonder of the world to Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, an American musician who uses the stage name Taj Mahal and more as you type in the search box.

"The best answer to your question is not always a single entity, but a list or group of connected things. So when you search for 'California lighthouses', 'hurricanes in 2008' or 'famous female astronomers,' we'll show you a list of these things across the top of the page," wrote Amit Singhal, SVP, Google Search, in an official blog post. Additionally, Google will also provide results for subjective searches like 'best Bollywood movies 2011' or 'places to visit in Mumbai' by combining its Knowledge Graph with results from the Web.

Voice search: The Google Search app for both Android and iOS already enables its users to make search queries using speech (and we must say that it understands the Indian accent much better than Apple's SIRI). Plus, Voice Search also provides spoken responses (as full sentences) whenever it has a direct answer to the user's question (see the video below for more). Google claims that this feature has been available on Android for a few weeks and very soon, it will be available on iOS devices (version 4.2+).

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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