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A few days back, my sister wanted to install the video plug-in to start a video chat in Gmail. My task was to spoon feed her through the process. As a matter of course, I told her to search for the precise download URL using Google Search. She did, but she also waded out from Gmail in the process. Though getting back to Gmail is not too difficult, it is definitely irksome to lose your Gmail window or opening tabs while you are hotfooting after a search result.

This is where the new experimental feature from Google Labs solves the problem. It lets you search from within the Gmail window without browsing away from a chat or an email.

Here’s how I could have finished my tutoring in double quick time as well as my sister’s problem, if I had known about it sooner.

  1. Log-in to your Gmail account and click Settings near the top right corner. On the Settings page, select the Labs tab.

    1-settings-labs

  2. On the Labs page, scroll down to the feature called Google Search. It is on the bottom half of the list. By default it is disabled – you just need to enable it. Save the setting.

    2-google-search-off

  3. When your inbox loads again you should see the Web Search box on the left hand sidebar.

    3-web-search-box

  4. When you search using this box, the search results open up on the right side very similar to chat window opening up inside Gmail. First few results are displayed for the sake of size. Clicking on More”¦ below the links displays the others.

    4-search-results

  5. Clicking on a search result opens up another window (or another tab) to take you to the URL page. If it’s the result you need, moving your mouse over the link back in Gmail reveals a pull-down menu that opens up a few more options to handle the link.

    5-dropdown-arrow

The options in the little dropdown depends on what you are doing while conducting the search.

  • If you are reading a message – you can include the search result in the reply.
  • If you are in the compose window – you can paste the search result or the result in the mail.
  • If you are chatting with someone – send the result via chat.

6-saved-searches1

The lab feature also saves your recent searches while a simple Clear removes them.

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Google seems to be packing it all in within Gmail. I don’t know how many of the experimental features will survive the churning, but the utility of a search box within Gmail should surely do.

As its search we do on the net more than anything, how do you find this neat feature? Is it useful or could Google have saved all the extra code? Let us know”¦

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