Google has been testing an expanded search that includes Gmail results ever since August, and it’s been enough of a hit that the company is swinging for the fences with an expanded test. The new version lets Gmail members find Calendar appointments and Drive files through the autocomplete results in the search box. Visit the main Google page and the results won’t be quite as broad, but they’ll include both the previous trial’s Gmail infromation as well as Drive — thankfully, tucked to the side rather than dominating the main page. Any individual, English-literate Google fans can join the new trial to get early access and find that long lost spreadsheet in the cloud.
Google’s legal woes are piling up in a hurry. French search engine 1PlusV is suing El Goog over alleged anti-competitive practices, less than a week after the Federal Trade Commission opened a formal inquiry into similar accusations levied stateside. The suit, set to be filed in a Paris court this week, claims that Google uses its market dominance to bury rival search results while unfairly promoting those for its own services. According to 1PlusV, Google “black-listed” 30 of its vertical search engines between 2007 and 2010, making it difficult for the firm to compete. The company is also complaining about having to adopt Mountain View’s technology in order to use AdSense and, in total, is seeking €295 million (about $418 million) in damages — the largest damage claim Google has ever faced in Europe. 1PlusV operates the legal search group EJustice.fr and, along with Microsoft, helped spur an EU antitrust probeagainst Google last year. The company says its forthcoming lawsuit represents the “logical” next step in its ongoing antitrust crusade, while Google issued a brief statement, saying it “look[s] forward to explaining this.”
We’ve never had a use for Google Instant Search on mobile, so we didn’t expect much when Google’s Instant Previews invaded the smartphone realm as well. You know what? They’re actually surprisingly useful. Instead of trying to cram additional information into Google’s already-crowded mobile website, Instant Previews adds a little magnifying glass next to most every result instead, and clicking on the magnifier brings up a series of cached thumbnails of each page that you can scroll through in portrait or landscape modes. It’s a very visual way of finding what you’re looking for, and more importantly, it’s quick even over 3G, saving time and mobile bandwidth that would otherwise be spent clicking through links one by one. Rather than decipher that long-winded explanation, though, why don’t you try it out for yourself or watch our video demonstration after the break?
How far we’ve come from the heady days when Microsoft was willing to splash $44 billion to acquire Yahoo! Since then, the online portal has done whatever the opposite of going from strength to strength is, and today it’s suffered the somewhat predictable ignominy of losing its second spot in search to Microsoft’s upstart Bing. Statcounter places the February global share of search at 4.4 percent for Microsoft and 3.9 percent for Yahoo! (the Redmond giant can actually lay claim to a bigger slice since Bing “powers” Yahoo! search results in some countries), neither of which should give Google much reason for concern while it’s sitting pretty with a share of just under 90 percent. It’s the first time Google has dipped below the 90 percent mark for a long time, but Statcounter says “it shows little sign of losing its global dominance any time soon.” So that settles that.