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February 3, 2010

Better Google Search Integration in Gmail

One of the few great Hotmail features is the web search integration. When you compose a message, Hotmail lets you add maps, movie listings, local search results, images from the web without opening a new page.

Google's AJAX Search API lets you add similar features to any application, so it was surprising to see that Gmail didn't include a gadget that integrates with Google search. Last year, Gmail Labs added a Google Search gadget, but it only displayed web search results.

The Gmail Labs feature has been improved and you can now find images, maps, news articles, simple facts, weather information, definitions and even use Google Calculator from Gmail. Depending on your query, the gadget shows web search results or results from specialized search engines. Sometimes you'll see information that's usually displayed in an OneBox.

The main problem is that the gadget displays a small number of images, news articles or local search results, but there's no option to see more results from the same category. Another issue is that the specialized results are displayed only if Google finds that they're appropriate for your query.

{ via Gmail Blog }

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