Regardless of the devices you happen to favor, chances are high you’re using Google Search, the default search engine on iOS gadgets and Mac notebooks and desktops.
It’s been awhile since we covered Google Search improvements here on iDB and I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to fill you in on today’s pretty important round of enhancements to the good ol’ Google Search.
Folks using Google Now on iOS on Android have been loving the way the feature automatically serves relevant information pertaining to their flights, reservations, appointments and more. Now all of that is available in standard Google Search on desktop and mobile devices, right in your browser…
Writing on the official Google blog, the company explained that you can now use Google search to look up information from Gmail, Calendar and Google+. Provided you’re signed-in, Google will populate your search results on desktop and mobile devices with flight, reservations and package delivery info.
Soon you’ll be able to find this info instantly in Google Search if it’s in your Gmail, Google Calendar or Google+. For example, just ask or type, “What’s my flight status?” or “When will my package arrive?”
Typing these kinds of questions (or asking using your voice) will analyze your Gmail messages, Google+ posts and circles and Calendar entries. It’s like Siri knowing about your schedule, messages and social interactions because those snippets of information reside inside stock apps on your device.
In addition to flights, reservations and package deliver info, you can also ask for “my purchases” to get the status of your current orders or “what are my plans for tomorrow?” to see a summary of upcoming flights, hotels, restaurant reservations and events.
My favorite is Google+ Photos integration: just say “Show me my photos from Australia” to see the photos you uploaded to Google+.
But wait, there’s more! You can also ask stuff such as “my photos of sunsets” and Google will do its best to recognize the correct type of photo.
Like Google Now, you can exclude specific services from searches.
To do so, click the globe icon at the top of the search results page and cherry-pick your preferred services. And should you ever feel the need to turn the feature off permanently, simply visit the Private Results section in your Search Settings on Google.com.
For those concerned about the privacy of the newly supported search queries, Google is adamant that this information “is just for you – secure, via encrypted connection, and visible only to you when you’re signed in to Google”.
Of course, this kind of search integration with other Google services has been implemented on Android devices via Google Now cards for over a year now, with one notable difference – there’s no way to actively query Google Now.
On a somewhat related note, the Internet giant argued its users had waived their right to privacy the instant they agreed to terms of service.
Google’s stance on privacy, from its legal filings:
Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s email provider in the course of delivery.
Consumer Watchdog called this “a stunning admission” on Google’s part.
Google’s school of thought brings to mind Gmail Man.
I don’t like Google much, but I nonetheless use its products on an everyday basis – that’s how great Google services are (regardless of where your heart lies). And while I could imagine my daily productivity without such tools as Google+, Gmail, Docs, Drive, Voice, Maps and Translate, Search is not one of them.
To put it bluntly, in spite of Bing’s advancements and Yahoo’s continuous improvements to its search experience, I just can’t get my head around using any other search product except for Google’s.
I depend on Google Search for my research, fact-checking, the news gathering process and just about anything outside the confines of Twitter, which is where I get most of my breaking news nowadays.