Thursday, April 30, 2009 5:04 PM
I can't stop drooling over Gmail Labs. It's simply a great idea for expanding a product, without forcing all users happy with the current one to upgrade to features they don't want. And tonight may be the best Gmail Labs feature yet: Google Search In Gmail.
Yes, it may sound lame or obvious, but it's a pretty kickass feature. Once enabled, it puts a Google Search widget in the left side toolbar of Gmail. From there, you simply input a query into the search box, and it will pop up the results in an overlay window at the bottom ¿ the same type of window it users for IMs and Tasks. It will show you the top three results in this box automatically, or you can click "more" to expand the box. You can also pop the results out into their own window.
Yes, you've been able to search Google from within Gmail for a long time, but when you do so using the main search bar in Gmail, it opens another whole browser window for the results. That's cumbersome. This keeps me right in Gmail and allows me to save multiple queries that I may need again later. And there's another nice feature. Hovering over any of the results gives you a drop down menu that permits you to send the results to other people via email or IM.
It's seriously getting to the point where I can almost do everything I want to do on the web within Gmail thanks to these Labs widgets. Don't think Google doesn't realize that either as it continues to becoming more of a social player on the web.