Google is broadening the reach of Gmail Search with the help of a Labs tool that allows users to find e-mails and documents, the company announced on Wednesday.
The Apps Search feature, which is available in Gmail Labs, provides search results from a person's e-mail messages, as well as Google Docs. So if someone saves a presentation in Google Docs and e-mails that to a colleague, a search for that presentation would display results from both Gmail and Google Docs.
In addition, Google has added a "Did you mean?" option to Gmail search. The feature works the same way as it does on Google Search when it senses that a query was mistyped. In those cases, the system lets users choose what it suggests as the correctly spelled query. Users can click the "Did you mean?" link and see results based on the corrected query.
I tried using Apps Search. Upon enabling it, the old "Search Mail" button next to the search box is changed to "Search Mail and Docs." The search tool works just as it did prior to enabling the feature, but below the Mail results, the app displays results from both Google Docs and Google Sites.
I did witness slower load times on the Apps Search documents compared with e-mail messages. According to Google, it's the non-mail results that take longer to load, so those who are just looking for an e-mail won't be slowed down. Still, it would have been nice to have non-mail results pop up quicker.
Regardless, if like me you've been looking for an improved Gmail search, I think we've found it.