As it grows, Google has been handily expanding its reach beyond search. While the company insists this remains its bread and butter, we’ve long known that Google is one thing: An ad company. Despite the priority shift, Google Search has easily remained its major eyeball source, and thus receives plenty of attention.
Today Google announced a slew of updates for search, ranging from some wider Knowledge Graph implementation to the scene-stealing experimental Gmail and search collaboration. Here’s a quick rundown of the big changes in store for Google Search.
Testing, testing: Gmail is getting personal
This is easily the most-hyped announcement and it’s not even near confirmed. “Starting today, we’re opening up a limited trial where you can sign up to get information from your Gmail right from the search box.” To reiterate, when you’re search mode is set to personal, results will include any relevant content from your Gmail account in the right-hand white space.
Of course, the caveat to how this feature currently works is that if you want to use Personal Search but don’t want Gmail integrated into search results… well you’re entirely out of luck. There should definitely be an option to disable this and still use Personal Search, and given that it’s a field trial it’s easily possible Google will alter that current setting.
If there’s an iOS, there’s a way…
Apple may be turning a cold shoulder to all things Google with its coming iOS 6 iteration, but that doesn’t mean Google is done developing for iOS altogether. Google Search apps for iPad and iPhone will soon get a new version enabling voice search and results – so yeah, it shares some similarities with Siri. There’s some contextual awareness here; for instance, when asked what movies are playing, it will respond with showings in your area. Google Now this is not, however, and there’s no ambient reality, you-learning going on.
Knowledge is power
This past spring, Google introduced its Knowledge Graph, a complementary feature to Search that acts like a sidebar summary of the person, place, or thing you’re looking up. It’s a nice, visual way to get the basics of your search subject front and center, as quickly as possible. Speeding this up as well will be adding this to auto-complete, so the Knowledge Graph content will be populated that much faster during your searches.
Now the feature is going international for English speakers and starting to contextualize results based on a particular region’s interpretation of a term. A new carousel display will also be implemented for slideshow scrolling.