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Google Lets Users Search Docs Using Gmail

Thanks to a Gmail Labs experiement, Gmail users now have the option of searching their Docs and Sites files along with their messages.

Google on Wednesday deepened the integration between Gmail and Google Apps through the introduction of a new "Apps Search" lab in Gmail.

By enabling the Apps Search experiment in Gmail Labs -- accessed through the Gmail Settings menu -- Google Apps users can conduct keyword searches that scan both Gmail messages and Google Apps data, specifically Docs and Sites files.

Users who opt-in to the App Search lab will see the "Search Mail" button in Gmail relabelled to read "Search Mail and Docs."

Though officially an experiment, the utility of being able to search through Google files outside of Gmail makes it seem inevitable that this feature will graduate from Gmail Labs.

Not all Gmail Labs experiments make the grade. In February, Google promoted six experiments to supported features and flunked five. The five denied were Muzzle, Fixed Width Font, Email Addict, Location in Signature, and Random Signature, three of which had been in testing since Gmail Labs debuted in June 2008.

Users of Google Apps Premiere Edition and Education Edition must have the approval of an Apps administrator to enable this experiment.

Keeping up with Google's constant stream of enhancements to Google Apps is almost a full-time job. The company's engineers have released about two new features every week on average during the first half of 2010. Last month, Google posted a 22 minute video to YouTube that reviews the changes to its cloud productivity suite.

Earlier this week, Google made URL auto-linking and the use of smart quotes optional through a Preferences dialog box in the Tools menu that's available when working on a Docs file.

Several week ago, the company added the ability to convert default smart quotes into straight quotes using a key command, but having a setting to disable them permanently is a far better solution.

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Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
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