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Google to include people's Gmail in search results (google.com)
34 points by nreece 1952 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

Note that the emails that will be blended with your search results are from your inbox. This feature does not blend Alice's emails with Bob's search results, if Alice and Bob have not communicated.

Also it will not show search results from your email unless you click a little button on the normal results page. I'm not sure why they didn't make that super-clear on the landing page but Matt Cutts is on it. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4358125 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4358096 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4357241

Still, not cool. It is not uncommon for someone to use my machine for a brief stint. Say we're about to go somewhere and I ask them to print the directions. I'd rather not have emails from 5 years ago pop up in an innocuous search.

If you use Chrome, just CTRL+SHIFT+N (or CMD+SHFIT+N) and open them in their own session that auto-expires when you close the window. Then whatever they're doing is safe for them and they don't kick you out of all your accounts. And it takes a fraction of a second to do.

"Hey, can I borrow a piece of paper?" "Sure, just grab a page out of my teenage daughter's journal that she's not using. Flip through until you find one"

Er, why am "I" expect to muck around like that to simply protect my privacy, which was more private in the first place?

Here's an idea, privacy first, ooooh anit we cool coders second. Privacy very much has to be the default, not google's cleverness or revenue stream.

All I can say is thank the non existent one that I don't use gmail for anything even vaguely important.

"protect my privacy" is a really poor way to position this argument, if only for the many times we need to take companies to task for actually violating people's privacy. This is showing something on screen that you'd rather only have shown in a different tab.

The only reason you don't have the same reaction to the location bar in your browser showing browser history is that you're used to it.

If you don't want email results to show up on your search page, just don't turn it on.

or just use DDG

Privacy-first would be logging out of sites when you're finished, or having the default state of your browser to be un-authenticated (just use private modes everywhere). If you don't do either of those, then you are clearly not using the options (easily) available to you to be private-first.

If that is true, why would you expect every site to assume you want privacy, when you chose to have customization by being logged in?

If you can do that, you may as well do the thing you were going to have the other person do. I think notregistering is referring to times you may have your hands full and/or can't get to your computer.

Out of the billion people who use Google how many do you think know about this and will remember to do this every time?

And it's not just when someone else is using your computer. At work, I frequently have people in my office asking me questions, and I often do a web search while they're sitting next to me. I wouldn't want personal stuff from my e-mail being displayed to random co-workers. And I really don't want to have to remember to open an incognito window for searching every time someone is in my office.

But you're logged into personal e-mail at work?

you aren't?

As someone already noted: use Chrome Profiles to isolate accounts from each other.

If you're using multilogin, you're sending cookies for multiple sessions on each request. How can you blame the server for thinking you might want results for both?

It doesn't "pop up". There's a separate button in your search results that reveals your matching emails. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4357241

Why not just have them log in as a guest? I haven't used other OS'es in a while, but on ubuntu that takes 3 or so seconds. That's a best practice you should be doing anyway even if your emails were not showing in search.

Well, probably because:

Them: "Hey dude, can I use your computer real quick for a second."

You: "Err, hold on a second, I need to do something..."

Them: awkward silence

ctrl-shift-n: here you go.

But more seriously it really depends on what appears in that search results and for which queries. If it's done properly it only triggers when there's a very relevant mail matching the query, which would be unlikely from just a casual search from a friend. Also if just the title is shown, it doesn't reveal much.

Yeah, I don't want to imagine what sort of search your friend would be doing on your computer that would bring up your porn subscription, your emails to your mistress...

Than don't use it.

It would be interesting if Google provided a switch in Chrome/ium to allow you use Incognito as the default mode, and Ctrl-Shift-N to pop up a normal window. That would mitigate this scenario somewhat, at least on one browser.

If Google starts messing with my email then it might be time to unplug from _all_ of Google's products.

> in its latest attempt to deliver more personal responses more quickly

I liked it better when the web was impersonal, when you actually had to make an effort to filter out the information you didn't want. As more and more of the top of your search results get cluttered with things that Big Bro knows that you want, the less and less you are exposed to the world of things that you never knew you might take an interest in.

Search used to be a way to find marvelous new gems in the ocean of Internet. Now it's just a reaffirmation of your favorite repertoires, leaving you with the ultimate confirmation bias in everything you read, buy, and think about. These days, I can rarely find anything with Google that I didn't already know about, read about, write about, etc. Half the time, I use Google as a bookmark manager ... heck, I might as well just search my browser history. Throwing email history into the mix will only accelerate this trend, shoving each of us even deeper into our own little holes in the ground. Search has become boring, an incubator for egocentric brats, and a place where political diversity goes to die ... all in the name of personalization, i.e. ad revenue.

Nowadays, the only sites that dare to give me non-personalized information seem to be DuckDuckGo and Wikipedia. Oh, and occasionally Google, when I'm logged out and freshly rid of cookies.

  > Nowadays, the only sites that dare to give me
  > non-personalized information seem to be DuckDuckGo and
  > Wikipedia. Oh, and occasionally Google, when I'm logged
  > out and freshly rid of cookies.
I don't notice any significant difference in personalized vs non-personalized results, though personalized results are occasionally more useful.

If you really don't want Google to return personalized results, then click the "Hide personal results" icon in the top right. This is less annoying than having to clear all your cookies.

I think the concern with clearing all cookies is not simply to not see the personalized results but that the cookies are actually tracking the person's usage.

Google in recent times has gotten so creepy that I never stay logged in. Same with Facebook btw.

While I agree with you that accidental discovery is sometimes valuable, it seems like introducing you to things you weren't necessarily looking for was an unintended side effect of how the web originally worked. The goal was to help you find what you were looking for, but because it didn't always work completely, you sometimes ended up finding what you were not looking for.

What's interesting is that while Google is narrowing down on what you are specifically looking for in search, it is simultaneously introducing a product that is designed to suggest things you have not explicitly asked for: Google Now. It will be interesting to see if they can provide the discovery functionality that you want with a product that is specifically designed to perform that function, rather than one that does so unintentionally.

It's not accidental discovery per se that I miss. I'm more worried about the subtle moral, social and political implications that the loss of impersonal information might bring about. Will Google rank negative information about my favorite Congressional candidate lower in its search results, because I often email my friends with positive information about him? How long before a Wikipedia article about some scientific fact gets ranked below misinformation that an annoying relative has emailed me about 20 times last year? I'm a firm believer in the idea that the best way to make most people open-minded is to force them to confront diversity in their daily lives. But the more you are surrounded with personalized stuff that appeal to your appetites, the less likely you are to confront the Other. Of course I don't want Google forcing anyone to read anything, but I don't want them to discourage people from reading certain things, either. I want my information sorted by relevance, not anyone's political biases. Accidental discovery was not an unintended side effect of the design of the web. It is a natural consequence of the fact that facts are impersonal.

I'm also not sure whether something like Google Now could fill the role of completely unpersonalized, "objective" information. It is still personalized in the sense that the algorithm is tainted by my current preferences, so it might confirm my biases in more subtle ways. In fact, Google has every incentive to show me results that please my palate as much as possible. "Worried about Obamacare? Why don't you check out this fundamentalist's blog?"

>Will Google rank negative information about my favorite Congressional candidate lower in its search results

Google already has the content it needs to do that and does not have to tell you that it's using it.

This is exactly why I think SEO is going to go extinct.

I can't understand the motivation for this. The opposite makes more sense. Where web results are shown with Gmail search. People often use search with other people looking over their shoulder .. how many times does one browse emails with a group of people around them?

Finally a way to search gmail. It's great for mail, but the built in search is terrible.

Wait, what? The search function in gmail is terrible? What do you think they went out and built a new algorithm just for gmail instead of using their tried and tested one?

Speaking anecdotally of course, I've found the gmail search function to be very good. Add in operators as you would in regular searches and it's as useful as regular search--but in the context of email.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding?

Well, to be fair, i end up using the apps version of gmail for work far more than my regular account.

The most recent example dealt with a specific admin type email i needed for forms. it is an email with two fairly distinctive words. As far as i know, it's the only email i've ever received with those two words.

The top 20 emails returned by search don't contain both words.

perhaps this is a weird or unfair use case. There's a fair amount of institutional knowledge tucked away in that account. Often, i need complicated constraints to coerce the search to bring forth my data.

Ah, ok.

Don't know if it'd help (and not to suggest you didn't try), but sometimes quotes can help on that front. Also, can't speak to the apps version--haven't used it myself.

Thanks for the reply.

Why do you consider the search terrible? I think it's one of the best email search experiences out there.

it's, okay, i guess. i find it odd it returns emails that don't contain all of my criteria first. I understand the desire for including more recent results. Probably, it's a lot more economical to not really search all my mail, and just provide a set from a recent pool of stuff.

Try subscribing to a high volume mailing list like bugtraq or linux-kernel. For a search to yield any meaningful results you have to add -label:bugtraq -label:linux-kernel. for. every. single. search. Still, for the other 99.9999% of users who don't subscribe to mailing lists I'm sure it's great.

I think the current gmail search is a lot better than what it was a few months ago.

I still wish they did page numbers for search results or something like that. (I'm aware of the manually editing the url hack, but it's not the same experience.)

My searches are too personal now. I search for a snippet of code and all I get are iPhone or Minecraft related results. How do I turn off this personal-ization of my searches?

If you are in Chrome, you can do Incognito Window

why isn't there more outrage ?

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