Technology giant Google said it has the solution to the problem of spending hours searching through old e-mails looking for friends' phone numbers, addresses, or flight confirmation numbers. The company has announced a number of improvements to its e-mail client to make it easier for users to find all sorts of info buried in their inboxes.
“E-mails can contain all sorts of important information -- from your friend's new address, to a flight confirmation number or a link to pay a bill,” Govind Kaushal, product manager at Google wrote in a blog post today announcing the upgrade. “The challenge is, these bits of info are often buried inside larger conversations.”
Users can now see search results listed in order of relevance, rather than in reverse chronological order. In addition, the mail client will also extract the information out of the original messages, offering users only the info they seek. The new features are available to users starting today.
Rather than returning a list of subject headings, the e-mail client will return only the answers it thinks users are looking for. Underneath any quick answers, e-mails will be listed in order of relevance under a “Top Results” headline. Users will also be able to see the traditional reverse chronological order list of search results. The client will also provide links to the e-mails from which it took the answers.
Gmail clients will also be able to conduct intelligent searches, using natural language search terms such as “dinner reservation” or “tracking number.” Those innovations are likely to be especially attractive to mobile users, for whom speed is a luxury and who don’t want to spend time scanning through the entire texts of their e-mails on tiny screens.
Appealing to Mobile Users
Google has been promoting its mobile e-mail client in particular, aiming to lure some of the countless iPhone users away from Apple’s native e-mail app. Google has made a number of improvements to its mobile e-mail app ever since replacing its original Gmail app with the reinvented Inbox.
Inbox introduced a number of new features for mobile users when it first arrived in 2014, including the ability to group e-mailed documents, such as bank statements or receipts, together by type for easy organization. Even at its inception, Inbox was able to highlight relevant information buried in previous e-mails.
The client already has a host of other smart features designed to save users time, such as the ability to generate automatic replies to e-mails so that users can respond to messages without having to type. The latest upgrade would seem to be another step along the same path. The company has not yet said whether the upgrade would be made in the form of an app update or a change on the server side.
Posted: 2016-01-26 @ 3:49pm PT
How about letting users make the simple decision whether they want most recent e-mail on top or bottom?