If you’d like to participate, head on over to the signup page and add your account.
Once that’s done, just log in to your Google account. You’ll then be able to search Gmail, your Google Drive documents and now your Google Calendar appointments directly from the Google search page (or from within Gmail).
The Google Calendar integration doesn’t just add appointments, it also features support for natural language queries. For example, type “what is on my calendar today” and you’ll see the day’s agenda. More specific queries work as well; to find out when you’re meeting someone, just type “when am I meeting” and the person’s name.
Note that the personalized search trial is still only available to U.S. users with @gmail.com addresses (Google Apps accounts are out of luck for now). If you opt in and decide you hate it, you can always go back to the sign up page and turn universal search off.
Unlike some new features for Google Apps, these are available right now in Gmail, though all three remain off by default.
To enable the popular “Send and Archive,” which turns the Send button into a dual-function button that sends your reply and then archives the conversation, head to settings and look for the new “Show ‘Send & Archive’ button in reply” option. While you’re in Gmail’s settings you can also change the default reply mode to reply all, though frankly that seems like asking for trouble.
The quote selected text feature is not a setting, it’s just the new behavior for replying to messages. Select a block of text in an e-mail, click reply and only the selected text will be included in your reply.
That means you can attach files up to 10GB in size, which is some 400 times larger than what Gmail will allow you to do with typical e-mail attachments. Of course the reason files can be so large is that Google isn’t actually sending the files; it’s merely sending a link to your recipients who can then access them through Google Drive.
Gmail has a clever new feature that checks to make sure that all your recipients actually have permission to view your Drive files. The feature works a bit like Gmail’s forgotten-attachment detector — if you forgot to grant permission to one of your recipients Gmail will prompt you to do so before sending your e-mail.
Like most new features from Google, the new Google Drive integration will be rolling out to Gmail users “over the next few days.” Note that in order to get the new Google Drive attachments feature you’ll need to opt-in to the new compose window option we wrote about earlier (see that post for full details on how to get started with Gmail’s new in-window compose dialog).
Google is introducing a new way to compose messages in Gmail. Instead of loading a whole new “compose” page, you can now start a new email from wherever you are in a popup window. The window isn’t actually a new browser window, but rather an overlay on the Gmail page. The new compose looks like a Gmail chat window, though the compose version is a bit bigger.
The new compose window is rolling out as a preview today. If you’d like to try it out just click the compose button and Gmail will ask if you’d like to try the “new compose experience.” Hit that link and you’ll get the new window.
The change makes it easier to reference old emails while you’re composing a new one, since you don’t need to leave whatever page you’re viewing just to write a new message.
The overlay window also means you can search or keep an eye on incoming mail while you write your new message. Having compose in its own window also means you can write multiple messages at once and even minimize a message to finish it later.
The window within a window model mimics what you’d find on traditional desktop mail apps, and Gmail has also borrowed another feature of desktop mail applications — drag and drop “address chips.” The drag and drop features are nice, but the “chips” mean that your recipients’ email addresses are collapsed to just the name, which can be annoying if you need to double-check that you’re emailing, for example, a person’s work address instead of a home address.
For now the new compose window is optional, but Google says that it will, after some “finishing touches,” be rolling out to everyone “over the coming months.”
[Update: If you really like the new compose window, Google Operating System's Alex Chitu points out that, with a little URL hacking, you can open any message in a compose-style window. Check out Google Operating System for full details.]
Sign up for the trial and when you’re logged into your Google account you’ll be able to search Gmail and your Google Drive documents directly from the Google search page. Your mail and documents appear in a sidebar next to the usual results from around the web.
Google kicked off the Gmail search results on Google.com earlier this year with a limited “field trial.” Now, after what Google Software Engineer Bram Moolenaar (perhaps best known as the creator of Vim), calls “very positive feedback from those of you testing it out,” the company is expanding the universal search feature to a wider audience.
As Moolenaar writes, “when you search on Google.com, your results will include relevant information and messages from Gmail … and now — new in this field trial — also files, documents, spreadsheets and more from Google Drive.”
The updated trial also brings Google’s instant search results to Gmail. When you search in Gmail links to relevant email will pop up in the search bar as soon as you start typing — just like Google.com.
The new integrated search still isn’t the default behavior by any means, but it certainly looks like Google is moving in that direction. For now you’ll still need to sign up for the trial if you’d like to experiment with it. Note that the trial is only available in English and to those with @gmail.com addresses. (Google Apps accounts are out of luck for now.) If you opt in and decide you hate it, you can always go back to the sign up page and turn universal search off.